Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

The Politics of Weak Control: State Capacity and Economic Semi-Formality in the Middle East

The Politics of Weak Control: State Capacity and Economic Semi-Formality in the Middle East The Politics of Negative Equilibrium Unlike actors within the formal and the informal sectors—whose economic activities tend to be marked by extremes of procedural formality versus near-complete informality—semi-formal enterprises operate out of formally established businesses, but conduct their business with little regard for formal procedures or regulations. The inability of the state to firmly establish its authority over these semiformal entrepreneurs is due to a complex, dynamic series of interactions and processes. Both in its stated policies and in actual practice, the state tries to bring semi-formal enterprises under its control, at least financially if not bureaucratically. It thus creates bureaucratic institutions and agencies for this specific purpose (e.g. the Ministry of Economy, Chambers of Commerce, etc.). However, state agencies and their functionaries are often simply ignored by petit bourgeois small and medium-sized enterprises, whose commercial practices straddle formality and informality. The merchants’ successful snubbing of the state is partly due to the state’s own inherent limitations: quite simply, the state needs to preserve its available resources in order to more effectively co-opt and regulate the activities of wealthier industrialists and organized labor. Despite pretensions to the contrary, the state simply does not have the omnipresence that its http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East Duke University Press

The Politics of Weak Control: State Capacity and Economic Semi-Formality in the Middle East

Loading next page...
 
/lp/duke-university-press/the-politics-of-weak-control-state-capacity-and-economic-semi-gdh9sm9EEw
Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2002 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1089-201X
eISSN
1548-226X
DOI
10.1215/1089201X-22-1-2-43
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Politics of Negative Equilibrium Unlike actors within the formal and the informal sectors—whose economic activities tend to be marked by extremes of procedural formality versus near-complete informality—semi-formal enterprises operate out of formally established businesses, but conduct their business with little regard for formal procedures or regulations. The inability of the state to firmly establish its authority over these semiformal entrepreneurs is due to a complex, dynamic series of interactions and processes. Both in its stated policies and in actual practice, the state tries to bring semi-formal enterprises under its control, at least financially if not bureaucratically. It thus creates bureaucratic institutions and agencies for this specific purpose (e.g. the Ministry of Economy, Chambers of Commerce, etc.). However, state agencies and their functionaries are often simply ignored by petit bourgeois small and medium-sized enterprises, whose commercial practices straddle formality and informality. The merchants’ successful snubbing of the state is partly due to the state’s own inherent limitations: quite simply, the state needs to preserve its available resources in order to more effectively co-opt and regulate the activities of wealthier industrialists and organized labor. Despite pretensions to the contrary, the state simply does not have the omnipresence that its

Journal

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle EastDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2002

There are no references for this article.