Author Topic: IE nomination: The Egyptian government and Media. BBE: Some Egyptian Clerics  (Read 2742 times)

Ibrahim90

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So it looks like the government has decided that the best way to kickstart the economy, is to tear down all houses in violation of the building/property codes.

When one considers that many, or perhaps most of Egypt's modern buildings are in violation of those codes (because it's  ridiculously difficult to do it by law), a lot of people are going to have a very bad time.

The media shares in the nomination, as they've simply supported the president, without even remotely calling this into question.

And for the impoverished Egyptians, the only way out would be to somehow pay the fines. If they can't, the media suggests that the government will "help" by offering loans to the people. To add to the stupidity of the affair, everyone knows and admits there isn't the money to do such a thing in the first place!

To sweeten the shit pill, the government under as-sissi insists that the measure is meant to give the Egyptians a legal peace of mind. Acting the tough guy (as always) as-sissi has flat out stated: "if you want your affairs settled, bring your bags" (i.e. moneybags).

The severity of the measures also touches the mosques--many of which in the country (as in the rest of the Near East), are funded by Awqaf--essentially a type of trust fund. Rather than object to this, certain clerics have supported the government, by making the argument that the mosques are on "Ravaged land"*, and therefore cannot be prayed in in the first place. The law would in many cases be ex post facto, as many of the mosques predate the laws on property. I bring this up, as it illustrates how the clergy--which is normally (and traditionally) willing to stand up to the government--has now become complicit; the argument they made is actually very bad, and is clearly their attempt to please the government.


*Thet term is translation of an actual legal term in Islam, but it is absolutely not applicable to the mosques in this case. "Ravaged land" would be something like the Black Hills, for example: land unjustly taken from its previous owner. The clerics came up with this flimsy argument, because if they followed the actual rules, they'd have no choice but to stand up to the president--which they're too cowardly to do.
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evensgrey

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So, the despot (worse than the previous despot, by all accounts) wants to extort money from the generally rather poor population of Egypt on the basis that they aren't in compliance with the very laws that are a major contributor to them BEING poor.

(There was a specific case study on Egypt done by a group from IIRC Peru, which concluded that if you wanted to build a house on an empty stretch of desert, which was already determined to have no important archeological remains on it, doing so legally would take ~36 000 hours of paperwork.  They did this study in part as a response to an observation that the Peruvian public telephone monopoly was unsalable under the horrendous mess that was Peruvian property law, which made it impossible to even specifically define what was for sale, but when the property law was cleaned up so that what was for sale and what could be done with it was legally clear, it sold easily for ten times the previous asking price.  On examination of many 'developing' countries that have failed to develop, including Egypt, they found a common thread of not only corruption, but also a failure of legal clarity in property law.

In almost al developed countries, the law clearly defines what you can and cannot do with property you own, and who owns what property is, at the base level, easily determined by just asking the title registry office.  If  you want to do something with a piece of property, you generally file a single application in a single place and get an answer back fairly quickly.

In a place like Egypt, none of this is the case.  While there is rarely disagreement in any given place about who owns what, there is no functioning system of formal law in place to support this, because, as Ibrahim noted, the system is simply to cumbersome.  The result is a country practically carpeted with small businesses that cannot grow because they cannot get mortgage loans, insurance, or any of the other instruments and services that build upon functional systems of property law.  Thus, Egypt, and many other countries with similar problems with their legal frameworks, stay poor because the state itself prevents real economic growth.  (This in itself demonstrates how incompetent the governments in these states are.  If they allowed growth, the tax base would expand, and the tax revenues would increase.  This would make the government more powerful by making it richer.  If Egypt just copied the system used in the UK, for instance, which has working property law with a layer in place to protect identified heritage locations and structures, they'd be far better off.  But they don't, because it looks to the operators of the state like they'd lose power by doing so.)

Ibrahim90

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Indeed: we need property laws that are simple, intuitive and promote growth. This isn't just for Egypt (which is actually one of the worst in the region), but most of the Arab World.

Anyway, I came back to post an update:

The government in Egypt has now stated that it will not increase the price of the bread subsidy. This sounds good for the poor in Egypt, until you hear what the government did instead: the bread loaves were ordered reduced from 110 grams to 90 grams.

This may seem like not much bread, but you have to consider that the average Egyptian is probably eating 4-5 loaves a day; this is a very high intake of calories--basically, it fuels the poorest Egyptians.

The government, rather than admitting that this is because they haven't the money to make the bread, instead claimed it was for the good of the Egyptians, since now everyone will lose weight from it...

(This proves the point, naturally: subsidies of this sort basically hold the people hostage to the state).
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evensgrey

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This is the traditional Egyptian bread we're talking about here, the triangular loaves of the heavy stuff, with loads of oil in it?  The stuff that really is a meal in itself? That makes what we call bread in North America look like a sickly child by comparison?  (This stuff goes back as far as there are records of bread in Egypt, and that's a LONG WAY.)

There's no surprise that Egypt is running out of money.  Egypt's dominant industry for bringing in foreign exchange is tourism, and there's precious little of that this year.  (Egypt INVENTED being a tourist trap, and did it in antiquity.  Romans used to go to Egypt to see the sights, many of which are still visited by modern tourists.)

Ibrahim90

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This is the traditional Egyptian bread we're talking about here, the triangular loaves of the heavy stuff, with loads of oil in it?  The stuff that really is a meal in itself? That makes what we call bread in North America look like a sickly child by comparison?  (This stuff goes back as far as there are records of bread in Egypt, and that's a LONG WAY.)

There's no surprise that Egypt is running out of money.  Egypt's dominant industry for bringing in foreign exchange is tourism, and there's precious little of that this year.  (Egypt INVENTED being a tourist trap, and did it in antiquity.  Romans used to go to Egypt to see the sights, many of which are still visited by modern tourists.)

It's not generally served in triangles AFAIK, but I do know it's very calorie dense compared to what you're used to, and they eat it with a lot of things:


To give you a sense of how important this is to Egyptians: the Arab world generally calls bread "khubz"--which is just the word for bread. The Egyptians literally call it life ("3eysh").

As to Egypt running out of money: it goes beyond tourism (or lack of it). This has been going on for years. The Egyptian pound has been getting devalued since at least the Arab Spring, and many of As-sissi's new policies have pretty much guaranteed a massive increase in the cost of living, and wasted much money (one of his projects is to create a new capital/administrative center. Normally, this wouild be along the Nile, but this genius wants it in the desert. It's extra bad, because Cairo is actually the best possible location. There's a reason it's been the capital for the last 1200 years).

There's also the simple fact that Egypt's becoming less attractive a place to invest. Aside from all the other problems, Egypt's future is very uncertain. This is because of the dam Ethipia's building on the Blue Nile, just dowriver of Lake Tana. That's massively affect the amount of water going upstream (Sudan will also be eating shit from this--especially the area between Khortoum and the Egyptian Border).
« Last Edit: October 10, 2020, 08:39:21 PM by Ibrahim90 »
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evensgrey

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It's not generally served in triangles AFAIK, but I do know it's very calorie dense compared to what you're used to, and they eat it with a lot of things:


To give you a sense of how important this is to Egyptians: the Arab world generally calls bread "khubz"--which is just the word for bread. The Egyptians literally call it life ("3eysh").

I think the triangular loaves are a result of a traditional baking technique that goes back into antiquity.  This isn't going to be what you get from large, commercial bakeries, but I understand you can still find it in some villages.

As to Egypt running out of money: it goes beyond tourism (or lack of it). This has been going on for years. The Egyptian pound has been getting devalued since at least the Arab Spring, and many of As-sissi's new policies have pretty much guaranteed a massive increase in the cost of living, and wasted much money (one of his projects is to create a new capital/administrative center. Normally, this wouild be along the Nile, but this genius wants it in the desert. It's extra bad, because Cairo is actually the best possible location. There's a reason it's been the capital for the last 1200 years).

There's also the simple fact that Egypt's becoming less attractive a place to invest. Aside from all the other problems, Egypt's future is very uncertain. This is because of the dam Ethipia's building on the Blue Nile, just dowriver of Lake Tana. That's massively affect the amount of water going upstream (Sudan will also be eating shit from this--especially the area between Khortoum and the Egyptian Border).

I kind of hope it at least reduces the risks associated with the Aswan High Dam.  Sounds like it's going to make the Nile Delta problems even worse, though.  It would have been ice if this was a Belt-and-Road project, since those are likely to all come to a crashing halt soon, but it looks like it isn't, even though it's got a lot of funding and equipment from China.

Ibrahim90

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Well, all the bread I've ever seen looks like that--regardless of the bakery :shrug:

Could be rural v. urban though, since most bakers I've met come from or live in the cities.

Quote
I kind of hope it at least reduces the risks associated with the Aswan High Dam. 

The only way you can eliminate that risk, is to elminate the dam. So you're right: a second dam on the blue Nile would only exacerbate the problem: even less of that valuable silt will head up north--as well as less water.

« Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 03:35:59 PM by Ibrahim90 »
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evensgrey

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The only way you can eliminate that risk, is to elminate the dam. So you're right: a second dam on the blue Nile would only exacerbate the problem: even less of that valuable silt will head up north--as well as less water.

I was referring to the risk the dam may collapse and wipe out most of the country.  The fact the delta isn't being built up and hasn't been since it went up is a different problem.