Egypt's political dilemmas are based, in important part, on its economic dilemmas. But since the overthrow of the Morsi government, far less attention has been paid to crucial economic issues than the political and constitutional conflicts. But economic issues--and the lack of a legitimated economic vision--have been as much a cause of the unrest, change and uncertainty in Egypt, and during both the Mubarak and Morsi tenures. And they may be more intractable.
Any new permanent government will face the choice Morsi had but never made: between market economic reforms on the one hand, led by economists and business people to promote growth, jobs, and trade, and a command-and-control statist economy on the other, which provides subsidies for essentials like energy and staples like bread, rice, and sugar--and also provides sinecures for ex-military officers. Part of the problem is that "liberalizing" reforms--there have been three waves since the end of Nassar's regime than 40 years ago--are perceived as helping the rich and reflecting crony capitalism, rather than raising Egypt as a whole.