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More on capitalism (lack of)

Reader comment on item: [The Hamas Victory and] Prospects for Peace
in response to reader comment: Prospects for peace

Submitted by Pigfoot (United States), Jan 31, 2006 at 12:56

There is no capitalism in the Middle East. Most of the Gulf states employ a system called "reverse taxation". I borrow this from Bernard Lewis. His thesis is that money from oil revenues is doled out to the people and their only duty is to go to mosque and listen to the rantings. Since they pay no taxes they have little interest in what the government does. Government does everything and they have zero participation. This not a quote from the famed historian, just my unlearned interpretation.

Americans that entered Mosul and Kirkuk (in Iraq) were taken aback when they discovered that every building larger than the average American dime store was a government building. In Iraq as well as under Arafat and other tyrants any private enterprise that dared to become meaningful and profitable was (and is) taken over.

Based on what I have read by Bernard Lewis and others I believe democracy without capitalism can only be a sham- something akin to the "voting" under Sadam or the Soviet Union.
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