In both motivation and effect, counter-revolution has never been about the restoration of the ancien regime within the political sphere alone; it has also concerned the preservation of the pre-revolutionary social order, and the buttressing of the economic structures upon which that order was built.
In view of these historical laws, our project has opted to include a research division expressly devoted to the study of the Arab counter-revolution’s unique political economy. Focused on local and transnational dynamics alike, this division shall produce studies unwinding how capital flows, economic policymaking, market structures, labor relations, and state-business relations function to ensconce, fortify, or transform the status quo ex-ante.
Even before the eruption of the coronavirus, the generations which animated the uprisings had accrued precious few gains from their challenge to power, and to this day, majorities from the Maghreb to the Levant continue to languish in either poverty, unemployment, or the deep precarity that is endemic to life in the informal sector. The frustration of their wishes for dignified work, liveable wages, and democratically-managed economies has directly underpinned the enduring unsettledness of the MENA region in the post-2011 years. It is therefore imperative that we better understand the distal and proximate drivers of persistent developmental failures, stubborn cronyism, and ever expanding inequality. Our hope is that the research we conduct here will help grow knowledge on these topics and inform the change that is needed to improve the welfare of the many.