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Political Economy of Rentierism in the Middle East and Disruptions from the Digital Space

Sameena Hameed


Rentierism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region had emanated both from significant external rent and from the statist model of development feeding each other, where legitimacy was secured through rent distribution. The rent-led resource imbalance between the state and the society, as well as intra-societal inequalities in the region, has been less recognized and studied. The flow of external rent in tandem with internal rent-seeking has perpetuated the wealth and power of the political and economic elites and limited economic opportunities of the larger population. The rentierism that bred on vertical controls and network of privileges is set to be disrupted from flows and connectivity generated in the growth of digital commerce in the region.

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pp. 54–89

Keywords: Rent-seeking, rentierism, rentier society, capability deprivation, digital networking, e-commerce