Sunday, January 30, 2011


Thomas Friedman just said on Meet the Press: "Egypt and the Middle East has been on vacation from history for the last 50 years because of oil. Egypt didn't have oil but it had the agreement with Israel, which was to Egypt what oil is to the rest of the Middle East."

The quote just struck me because I'm reading a biography of Catherine of Aragon and the first few chapters have reference to the Moorish influences on Spain and the technological and artistic contributions made to that country prior to their ousting. I'm not quite sure what the peace treaty with Israel did economically for Egypt (perhaps aid from the US?) but oil and its ensuring revenues/subsidies gave some of these countries a reason not to develop other capabilities/competencies, leading to the high unemployment rates and stagnation that we see in the Middle East today. It's not just a democratic revolution that's needed, but an industrial one as well.

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