Economic Integration Leading to Peace? Shimon Peres ́ Vision of A New Middle East: Shimon Peres' Vision of A New Middle East

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GRIN Verlag, Dec 6, 2010 - Social Science - 17 pages
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In 1993, Shimon Peres published a book entitled “The New Middle East” in which he displayed a peace plan based on market liberalization and regional economic cooperation. His idea was embedded in the worldwide globalization process which was hoped for as bringing an end to regional conflicts replacing the importance of national interests and governments by multinational interests and corporations (Ben-Porat, 2005b). The argumentation of The New Middle East is rather simple: Globalization would call for market liberalization and a more powerful role of business; economic prosperity would create incentives for people to act peacefully as they wanted to participate in and gain from the economic growth (Yadgar, 2006). The belief in globalization and the hopes in the pacifying effect it would have were strong. But some doubted that the needs of society could easily be balanced with the ideals of a free market economy, which were – according to Adam Smith – “simple and natural liberty” (Polanyi, 1964: 177). Despite these doubts, the Israeli and the Palestinian government wished for an implementation of The New Middle East (Beck, 2003). The underlying question that was brought up and answered by this attempt was if it is possible to overcome the Middle East conflict by economic cooperation. At a first step, the role held for business in Peres ́ peace plan will be described and assessed, followed by an exposure of the conception of The New Middle East in regard of the question if it ́s failure was predictable. Subsequently, the business sector ́s reactions on the Oslo Accords and their appropriateness will be considered. In respect of a possible contradiction of the “simple and natural liberty” of markets and the objectives of societal parts, the concept of a Double Movement by Karl Polanyi and the way it may have disrupted the peace process will be described. Concluding, the reasons for The New Middle East ́s failed implementation will be summarized and some broader perspectives on the conflict and it ́s development will be given.

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