A Comparative Political Economy of Tunisia and Morocco: On by Gregory White

By Gregory White

Examines how emerging fiscal integration with Europe affects Tunisia and Morocco.

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Economy A country’s factor endowment—that is, natural resources, land mass, arable land, climate, population, and human resources—goes far to provide the conditions for the state in its effort to fashion a development strategy. Despite the shortcomings of classical theories of comparative advantage, it would be absurd to deny that a country could, somehow, disregard its inheritance and pursue economic policies that ignore its situation in the world economy. Tunisia is, by most accounts, a small country in terms of the size of its economy, its natural resource endowment, and the size of its population.

This is not to say that Tunisia’s regime enjoyed wholesale popularity or has not moved to eliminate political opposition. Bourguiba banned the Communist Party (PCT) in 1963, and the PSD became increasingly authoritarian after the 1974 party congress. Nevertheless, the close ties with a wide array of social segments remained salient well into the 1980s. Such ties, for example, facilitated the detection of deep-seated opposition to Ben Salah’s decision to extend the cooperative experiment in January 1969.

In addition, the bulk of the elite affected by European colonization was urban, with the rural elite less affected. Consequently, rural elites came to have an intermediary position between the state and the peasantry. ”27 Urban elites, by contrast, are diverse and varied, with significant elements forming key support for the monarchy, while others seek reform. A third group is the religious leadership, many of whom have historically supported the monarch as a legitimate descendant of the prophet Mohammed and, therefore, the “Commander of the Faithful,” or Amir al-Mu’minin.

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