Modern commercial and social entrepreneurship as a factor of change
- G. Escribano and A. Lorca (2012). Arab Society in Revolt: The West's Mediterranean Challenge (Brookings Institution Press), 96-121
- Abstract: Classical modernization and political economy approaches both consider a wide array of economic agents as potential drivers for change. These actors include international agents such as foreign companies (not only trans national corporations but also smaller companies), international orga - nizations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and local agents such as national public companies, entrepreneurs, bureaucrats, and segments of civil societies involved in economic or social activities (professional associations, trade unions, and local NGOs). Several authors have highlighted the linkages between entrepreneurs and Mediterranean political systems, but their analyses have tended to focus on the role of large entrepreneurs.1 In fact, nobody could have anticipated that the self-immolation of a humiliated and frustrated street fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi-who exemplified the overtrained, informal microentrepreneur-would catalyze the most profound upheaval seen in the Arab world since its independence. This chapter tries to fill this gap in the literature by analyzing entrepreneurship as a driver for social transformation, focusing on the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). While mainly dealing with the southern Mediterranean region, this discussion also includes some contextual references to the wider Middle East. The first section briefly presents the current situation of SMEs and entrepreneurship in North Africa. In the second section, we try to conceptually address the role of entrepreneurship as a driver for social change in North African countries. This is followed by an exploration of how SMEs and entrepreneurship are linked with other factors for change covered in this volume. The final section concludes with some implications and suggestions for U.S. and EU relationships with the region, as well as for transatlantic relations. Copyright 2012 The Brookings Institution.
- Theme: Business environment
- Reference type: Book Section
- Geographic location: International