The Political Economy of the Syrian Uprising: Whither the Business Class?
A lecture by Bassam Haddad, Associate Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs and Director, Middle East Studies, George Mason University, and Co-Editor of Jadaliyya.
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
10383 Bunche Hall
The question of a business classes that can be relied upon to invest in a post-war Syria has become as precarious as it is unpredictable. Political divisions have shattered even the rentier economy and the rentier business class along with it. Larger Independent businesses have suffocated under the weight of insecurity and lack of cash flow. Small and medium-sized businesses stumble along out of necessity but are increasingly disempowered and, sometimes, vanishing. What happened to big business? Can it be reconstructed? Where did its capital go? Under what conditions can it be repatriated? How might the schisms and fissures produced by the current crisis affect the rebuilding of an entrepreneurial, if not nationalist, business sector? Will it replicate the Ba`th era rentier class? The speaker will address these questions in the context of the current uprising.
Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East Studies Program and Associate Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, and is Visiting Professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011). Bassam’s most recent book is a co-edited volume with the title Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of an Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012). Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal a peer-reviewed research publication and is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of a critically acclaimed film series on Arabs and Terrorism, based on extensive field research/interviews. More recently, he directed a film on Arab/Muslim immigrants in Europe, titled The "Other" Threat. Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and serves on the Editorial Committee of Middle East Report. He is the Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute, an umbrella for five organizations dealing with knowledge production on the Middle East, and Founding Editor of Tadween Publishing.