Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Stephen J. Glain. Mullahs, Merchants, and Militants: The Economic Collapse of the Arab World. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005. 350 pages. $25.95. Hardback.

In this book, Former Wall Street Journal reporter Stephen Glain sets out to answer an extremely broad and difficult question: namely why is it that the Arab world, specifically the Levantine region, has consistently underperformed economically since the beginning of the 20th century. The book provides the reader with a somewhat in-depth analysis of the political, social and economic state of six Arab nations (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, and Iraq). By breaking down his analysis into country-specific chapters, Glain enables the reader to understand the multi-faceted problems facing the region as a whole. In doing so, Glain shows the reader a common thread of bad governance, corruption, negative external interference, and protectionism; the thread that runs through all these nations, causing economic decay.

Khaled Talhouni