A great number of Latin American countries adopted the neoliberal policies from the mid-1970s. These policies led to chronic economic crises and their drastic neoliberal resolution, such as increased poverty and inequality, higher levels of unemployment, and lower standards of living. These economic conditions produced, among other things, anomie, disorder, and societal disorganization.
The effects of the adoption of neoliberalism in Latin America reignited collective protests and forced presidents to leave office. Other forms of political protests took the form of antigovernment mobilizations against economic liberalization. New forms of protest took the shape of road blockades, Seizure of public buildings, Land invasions and occupations, Riots and marches, in addition to the traditional forms of labor strikes.
In the last decade, the neoliberal policies and the social and political protests led to the collapse of many Latin American regimes, such as Argentina economic collapse in 2001. A new policy frame emerged in many Latin American countries which relies more on state-led development and the adoption of social democracy. Social democracy is a redistributive system to decrease inequalities, reduce poverty and obtain the support of the groups which were marginalized and pauperized under the neoliberal policies. These policies are known as Neo-Populism.
So how does the Latin American case relate to the Middle East and especially Egypt? The so-called Arab Spring was motivated in large part by the drastic neoliberal policies adopted by most Middle Eastern countries, especially Egypt and Tunisia. But the new regimes emerging in these countries are oblivious to the effects of neoliberalism and are following the same economic policies of the previous regimes. What is achieved in the Arab Spring countries is ironically the superimposition of political Islamism on the drastic economic policies followed by the deposed regimes. That is why political protest is continuing in the Arab Spring countries due to the failure of the current regimes to deal with the deep economic crises and the increasing inequalities ravaging the new democracies.
In this course we aim at the study of Latin America experiments with the new policies that are targeting growth but also social equity. We also aim at formulating new economic policies for the Arab Spring countries especially Egypt that might resolve the deep economic crises ravaging the new regimes. CAN WE LAERN FROM LATIN AMERICA?