Egypt’s Quest for Social Justice: From Nasser to Sisi

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-16-2020


This paper examines Egypt’s shift from socialism to neo-liberalism in the wake of the economic crisis of the late 1980s and the implications of this shift for its socialist legacy. It argues that the decline of the welfare state in Egypt since 1991 has contributed to the erosion of the social contract forged in the post-independence period, which was marked by state-led development and high social mobility and a prominent role for the middle class. Neoliberal ‘reforms’ dictated by economic crisis and pressures from transnational capital as well international financial institutions led to the alienation of the middle and lower classes and the emergence of a new economic elite, whose dubious links to the ruling class has undermined the regime’s legitimacy and helped fuel the 25 January 2011 uprising.