In recent years, Iraq has undergone profound economic and social transformations. A new middle class is now emerging. In this article from Niqash, An Iraqi economist discusses how helpful that group is, in changing Iraq for the better. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
The Arab Spring revolutions have highlighted the role that the middle classes can play in modernizing their own societies and in rescuing them from totalitarian regimes and religious fanatics.
And in spite of Baghdad’s relatively conservative, occasionally condemnatory, stand on the Arab spring uprisings going on around the region, Iraq cannot remain immune from the changes taking place in the region. Which raises questions about the roles that the different social classes in Iraq will play now and in the future.
Views diverge on this. Many analysts, including Vali Nasr, the widely respected American-Iranian expert on Muslim world affairs and a former adviser to Barack Obama’s government, believes that the emerging middle class has the potential to become an engine of change in the region. He believes that the middle class will be the one to open up the region’s economies to the world.
On the other hand, there are more pessimistic views such as those expressed by Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said, the Nobel literature prize nominee better known as Adonis. In surveying the nature of Islamic societies, the man whom the New York Times described as an “outspoken secularist, equally critical of the East and West, and a poetic revolutionary” has said that social classes are over ruled by the religious basis of society in the region.
And there are also those who say that the middle classes actually contributed to the spread of totalitarianism and fundamentalism the Arab world after WWII.