Remembering Egyptian economist and Marxist thinker Samir Amin

Ahram Online , Monday 13 Aug 2018

World acclaimed Egyptian economist and thinker, Samir Amin, has died on Sunday in ‎Paris. ‎He was 86
World acclaimed Egyptian economist and thinker, Samir Amin, has died on Sunday in ‎Paris. ‎He was 86

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.

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