HIST412 - The Middle East in the World Economy

Over the last two centuries, the economies of the Middle East and the region’s place in the global economic system have changed dramatically. The agrarian empires of the region had formerly been largely self-sufficient and had exploited their geographic position to benefit as the essential intermediaries in the long-distance trade in luxury goods between Asia and the Indian Ocean on the one hand and the Mediterranean and Europe on the other. Over the nineteenth century the region was reintegrated into a new world economy dominated by an industrializing Western Europe, increasingly becoming a supplier of raw materials and an importer of manufactured goods while its economic institutions and communications infrastructure were rebuilt to support the new pattern. With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire following World War I the region was on the one hand fragmented into smaller “national” economies and on the other became a key supplier of the twentieth century’s essential commodity: petroleum. Achieving effective independence following World War II, Middle Eastern states sought to revise the terms of their relationship with the world economy by asserting control over natural resources and restructuring their economies through state-led import-substitution industrialization. By the early 1970s ISI had reached its limits and a new relationship among the rich and poor states of the region and between them and the global economy evolved, based on massive intraregional labor transfers, partial liberalization of protected national economies, and increased direct foreign investment and assistance. By the turn of the twenty-first century the regional economic picture was very mixed: great wealth and extreme poverty, strong ties with external trading partners but poor intraregional trade, highly uneven development, and a crisis of frustrated expectations for a young, educated population with poor employment prospects. This seminar will survey the economic evolution of the modern Middle East, emphasizing the region’s adaptations to its integration into the Europe-dominated world economy of the nineteenth century, the creation of national economies after World War I, stateled industrial development after independence and its limitations, the role of oil, intraregional labor migrations, and liberalization and globalization since c. 1970. The area covered will include the Ottoman Empire and Qajar Iran for the nineteenth century and Turkey, Iran, the Arab states, and Israel for the twentieth.
Day and Time: 
T 0600PM-0900PM
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