World acclaimed Egyptian economist and Marxist thinker Samir Amin died on Sunday in Paris at age 86.
Amin was born in Egypt in 1931 to an Egyptian father and French mother and spent his youth in Port Said. After studying in Egypt, he went on to receive a diploma in political science in Paris in 1952, before getting a degree in statistics and then a doctorate in economics.
Amin was one of the founders of the Egyptian Communist Party in the 1940s. After his graduation from French universities, he worked among the teaching staff at several French universities and escaped the successive imprisonment campaigns during the Nasserite era of the 1950s and 60s.
He worked first in Cairo at the Institute for Economic Management from 1957 to 1960, then moved between countries before becoming director of the Third World Forum in Dakar, Senegal in 1980.
He authored many books including The Liberal Virus (2003), A life Looking Forward )2006), Accumulation on a World Scale (1970) and Capitalism in the age of globalisation (1997).
Amin contributed articles to Al-Ahram Weekly on many occasions during the past three decades.
In January 2000, he wrote that “the 21st century will not be America's century. It will be one of vast conflicts and the rise of social struggles that question the disproportionate ambition of Washington."
In an interview with Ahram Online in 2012, Amin said that he believes that "this neo-liberal phase is in a state of collapse. It doesn't mean that capitalism is collapsing; but that its current form is collapsing and we're entering a new phase. It has to adapt, and whether the new system will be biased to the ruling class or the masses is still be revealed."
He also said that "we should not just look at the Muslim Brotherhood as a political Islamist power, but as a backward movement that rejects workers movements and social justice, preferring to talk about charity as a form of ensuring their control over the people. The Islamists accept the policies of dependency under the guise of open market and private ownership rights; they openly accepted the American role in the region and the US support for Israel, including the Camp David agreements."
Here are some of Amin’s articles and interviews with Ahram Online and Al-Ahram Weekly, which we publish in tribute to the prominent thinker’s contributions to helping us understand the world.
Not a happy ending
Globalisation and the market were celebrated as "the end of history" at the beginning of this [20th] century, just as they are being celebrated today, at its conclusion. This is not a case of history repeating itself, however, and capitalism's contradictions are sharper today than ever before, Amin writes.
Democracy against hegemony
The weapon against the US' global strategy is a process of globalisation which must be at once multipolar, democratic (at least potentially), and negotiated. The margin of autonomy that this allows is the only means of correctly addressing fundamental social problems, which differ due to the unequal development of markets, and is by the same token the condition for democracy to take root seriously, since it gives a better chance to demilitarisation, security and peace, writes Amin.
Confronting the empire
The present crisis [in Iraq] has demonstrated the ambitions of the United States – nothing short of bringing the entire planet under its military control, writes Amin.
Interview: Marxist thinker Samir Amin discusses demise of capitalism
Amin spoke to Ahram Online about how capitalism developed over the years and how today's world, Egypt included, is witnessing the "autumn of capitalism."
Samir Amin talks to Ahram Online on future of Egypt’s revolution
Speaking to Ahram Online, Amin analyses why uprisings broke out in the Arab world in 2011 and what developments await.
Book Review: A Marxist perspective for the January revolution
Amin explores in his new book a way forward for Egypt based on a "non-alignment movement" similar to that which existed in the Cold War era.