Iraq is about to enter a new phase. Don’t get me wrong. The sporadic violence is likely to continue. But now, the government has enough coherence to start thinking about economic development. And this, of course, means trying to attract foreign investment.
There are two potential paths Iraq may take. In the first, the government takes a passive stance, allowing larger business interests to do what they want. And what do they want? To leverage their way to riches. This has happened all over Eastern Europe and Russia. it produces a bumpy ride to normalcy, and creates a new class of oligarchs. In the second, Iraq disciplines larger players in the market to limit corruption, and abuse of dominant position. This requires political will, because it “shuffles the deck”. It also opens the door wider for young people to share the wealth.
Which is likely? Based on this NYT article, it appears that the Iraqi government would prefer to take the first path. This quote caught my eye
“We are after a gradual change from a centrally controlled economy to an open one.”
That is usually code for, “We don’t want to rock the boat.” Let’s see if they things change.