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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchInequality and Its Discontents in the Middle East

Inequality and Its Discontents in the Middle East

Author: Lydia Assouad

Affiliation: Carnegie Middle East Center

Organization /Publisher: Carnegie Middle East Center

Date/Place: March 12, 2020/ Lebanon

Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 2872


Keywords: Middle East, Inequality, Discontents, Corruption



In this article, the author highlights the economic and political realities of widespread corruption and inequality in Middle Eastern societies, where resources are usually in the hands of rulers or genetic institutions controlled by the political leadership and their private sector partners. According to the writer, this is the common denominator leading people to take to the streets in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, and Iran to demand their rights and remove the corrupt rule. The author attaches a set of data indicating the Middle East is indeed the most unequal region in the world according to a study by the Global Inequality Laboratory in 2018. Finally, the author concludes that the required reforms are well known, but there is a difficulty to implement them, due to the political elites’ lack of desire to implement any of the reforms because they are the main beneficiaries of the situation continuing as it is. Additionally, even if these elites wanted to carry out such reforms,  rampant corruption would likely undermine and hinder this process.


By: Taqwa Abu Kmeil, CIGA Research Assistant



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