PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES
Over the last four to five decades, the Middle East has not only witnessed the construction of new states but also the reconstruction of its existing economies and institutions. From the 1980s it has also given up part of its policy-making sovereignty with regard to tackling the debt crisis and domestic economic imbalances to rich Western creditors, the World Bank and IMF. This has set the countries of the Middle East on a monolithic path of ‘free’ market mechanisms and private entrepreneurship, irrespective of distributional consequences and variations in social organizations of their economies. This recent change is a new form of economic colonialism, and contrasts sharply with the political and economic powers that the region exercised freely before and during the world oil crisis (1973-9).