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Lebanon's Elite

Updated on December 23, 2019

The concept of "political clientelism" is adopted to explain how the underdeveloped state functions and to explain its poor performance. Michael Johnson applied this approach in the case of Lebanon, considering that "islamisis is the central phenomenon in lebanese economy, society and politics" (Johnson, 1986: 41). In the light of this concept, the Lebanese political system seems to be a parliamentary-istalis system, where the elected are the "heads of the networks of Mahsib". They arrive in parliament on the basis of the votes of voters who received them in exchange for votes.


First: Neo-Patriotism Elite

The approach to the underdeveloped state as a Neo-Patriotiser state has imposed itself in the field of research since the 1980s. Neo-Patriotism means that the occupants of public sites use their positions for personal benefit. The concept was used as an alternative to the concept of political submission, as it was more comprehensive and covered various practices not covered by the latter (Midar, 1982).

His preference compared to other concepts, such as patronage, prebendalism, nepotism, tribalism, etc., is due to its general character, as mentioned above. It can be used to denote Neo-Patrimonic states, each of which is more likely to be practiced (Medar, 1995:5).

It allows for the definition of a particular type of political elite, Neo-Patriotism. The definition of these elites is based on the relationship they forge with the State and is summarized in the use of their resources for special benefit. The state's submission to private use of its resources justifies the designation of the Neo-Patriotism state. The Paternally is a historical style of domination, the first to be defined by Max Weber. It is based on the authority's use of public resources as its own. What gives him legitimacy is a commitment to tradition. In the Neo-Patreonile state, the authority holder uses public resources in the same way. But this is done within the framework of a state with modern legal and formal structures. It is a state that adopts positive laws and is based on legal and rational references. Its authors claim that they adhere to the goals of nation-building and adopt a discourse on the public interest.

Because the Neo-patriotism logic is the priority of special considerations, i.e. serving special interests rather than adhering to the common good, it is a source of impediment to the economic growth of the country concerned and a source of political and administrative mis-performance of the State. It is a country hostile to economic growth because the Neo-Patriotism elite is not concerned with development objectives, but rather the accumulated economic and political resources of its elements. By making public decisions subject to the interests and will of Neo-Patriot leaders, they are an arbitrary source of decision. It creates an inability of private investors to expect political power, which prevents them from investing.

It also seizes development resources for the special uses of these leaders and for political investment. More recent theoretical literature has linked the nature of political systems and elites to the economic effectiveness of their countries. It showed that failed economic policies and development failures could be the way for politicians to secure their permanence in power.' When elected politicians reward their constituents, not through good economic policies, but through emissions, "networks of niches" are created and resource abuse is established that strikes and eliminates growth (De Mesquita and Rote, 2000:10).

It is a politically backward State because of its institutional ization. This is reflected in the personalization of the power of Neo-Pateronialon leaders, and for the adoption of informalism.

The Lebanese Public Administration has, in the first place, experienced the contradiction between formal positive laws and the daily reality of political interference in its work. Ralph Crowe distinguished between the "formally defined administrative functions", as defined by the Personnel Act of 1959, and the "informal administrative behavior", considering the latter as the cause of the failure of public administration and development failures in Lebanon (Crewe, 1966: 181).

This definition of a Neo-Patriotism state as a backward state refers to its alternative. This alternative is represented by the modern state of law, which has a legitimate and rational public administration (administration légale-rationnelle), and its performance is governed by impersonal obligations. Jean-François Meidar is the best at exploiting Max Weber's theoretical legacy, to read and understand the nature of the backward state and distinguish it from the modern Western state. The Western state is modern, because it has an administration that is committed to the professionalism of the text in carrying out its tasks, and because it is immune to informal interventions in its work (Midar, 1982:27). The Third World State is lagging behind, because informal interventions overwhelm its work and turn the status texts that define its tasks on paper.

The face of Neo-patriotism, in terms of the special use of public resources by the political elites involved in power, seems to be the most important issue in the process of nation-building in developing countries.

On the other hand, starting with the definition of the allows for the redefinition of the Lebanese consensus system in the light of this concept. If political leaders are able to avoid the disastrous consequences of their administration of public affairs and remain in office despite their failure to achieve national construction, it is because they present themselves as defenders of their communities. It allows them to fabricate conflicts on a sectarian and sectarian basis, to impose themselves on their communities. This is what Michael Johnson referred to as conflicts between leaders as a "superstructure of the system of surrender" (Johnson, 1986: 164).

In light of this, two characteristics of the Lebanese regime, Neo-patriotism and segmental isolation, can be designated for groups along sectarian and sectarian lines. Political sectarianism in Lebanon can therefore be analyzed in the same terms that we use to analyze the ethnic conflicts used by leaders in the multi-ethnic States of New Patremonian. Jean-François Meidar defined ethnic politics as an expression not of differences between "cultures", but as "struggles for power, whether political, economic or social, whose owners seek protection, prevent domination and gain power with the benefits it generates" (Medar, 1982: 19).

Researchers have linked the "ethnic" divide in many countries to their economic inefficiency. Politicians are ineffective when they use public resources to please their supporters, making public spending "patronage spending" (Mikal, 2005:1). The "ethnic" leader adopts discriminatory policies in resource allocation and benefit allocation, including public sector employment, unfair monitoring of public resources between regions and regions, and the provision of various forms of inefficient subsidizing to the "ethnic" public. The leaders' choice also reflects the distribution of income in the form of wages and salaries, rather than infrastructure spending (Mikal, 2005: 4 and 19).

The "ethnic" leader's audience becomes more attached to him, fearing that any change in existing statico will lead to a deterioration of his situation at the hands of "ethnic" specialists. This fear is even greater, when the "ethnic" leader has engaged in practices that have increased hostility between the "ethnic" components of the country concerned.

In Lebanon, these practices are called "sectarian quotas" by politicians. But every time the issue of the crisis of the regime is raised, everyone says that the problems of the latter come from sectarianism, and that out of them Lebanon's problems find a solution. This method of expression omits the distinction between sectarianism and "sectarian quotas", and that "the problem is in the system of sectarian quotas, not in sectarianism itself" (Fadlallah, 2019: 2). As for the fact that the sectarian regime is being attacked, it is useless in terms of its results in the field of state-building, because Lebanon's real problem is in introducing the logic of patrimonyism, i.e. the use of public resources for private benefit to the heart of the state, and because change can affect the sectarian structure of the state without It changes something in its Neo-Patrionic nature, or based on political submission.

Second: The "System of Leaders"

We owe it to the Swiss scholar Arnold Höttinger to use the term "za'imism" to define Lebanon's political system (Hotinger, 1966:97). However, the reader's text remains hungry to understand the nature of this system. The term "political feudalism" was used to denote the dissonance of the boycotting political leaders. Since the act, they no longer have to be taxed, but they have retained local influence that they have used to monopolize the political representation of citizens. They were helped by the Sultanate's assumption of managerial positions such as district administrators and managers, and their ability to distribute benefits.

Local traders and bankers have benefited from linking Oman to Europe as an exporter of agricultural raw materials and an open market for imports. They invested their wealth in the silk sector within the disposal, by lending producers and buying the crop. These "khawajas", as the historian Simon Abdel-Christ calls them, replaced the old "boycotters", in cutting the surplus and acting on it (Abd al-Christ, 2014). This has made them able to build networks of niches. The elite welcomed everyone who was able to distribute benefits. Since then, the regime has been based on political submission. This expression must be adopted as an alternative to the term political feudalism, which does not clearly indicate the nature of the system.

The researchers used other concepts to express the same reality. Albert Hourani described the fact that, throughout the Ottoman Sultanate, during the last century of its life, Albert Hourani described the title "Politics with the Logic of The Dignitaries", meaning that the state bowed to the will of these people (Hourani, 1968).

Barry Bressler showed that members of the political elite or leaders are "local power holders", the state does not limit their power, but rather maintains the conditions for their exercise (Bressler, 1988: 35 and 51). Michael Johnson defined them as reflecting the existence of a system of "patriarchial political submission" (Johnson, 2002:19).

There is an additional definition by which the definition of the Lebanese political system can be updated that Michael Johnson gave him. At the head of the pyramid stands every structure of the hierarchy that makes up this system a person or persons, who are politicians. At the same time, they are "people who are concerned with defending their status" (Men of Honour). In his 2001 book, Johnson conducted a critical review of his first work on Lebanon, published in 1986, which he devoted to analyzing the Lebanese political system as based on political submission. He compared Calabria to Lebanon, in terms of the use of violence in politics by so-called people who "acquired their positions, by using violence to preserve and assert their personal standing" (Johnson, 2001: 109). In other countries, the number of people who have been subjected to violence is still high.

In the same book, he used anthropological literature to define the Lebanese as well as the Arabs and The Mediterranean in common, which is the central role played by honor in their lives (Johnson, 2001:100). Johnson went to the culture of ancient Greece to find the roots of this definition. Medieval Europe rediscovered the Greek heritage through Arab translations. The nobles extracted from it the culture of "defending status", to impose themselves in the face of the values advocated by the Church. They expressed this culture in their practice, and power over others was gained only by devaluing them (Degradation) (Johnson, 2001:75-85). The culture of "status" has also reflected itself in the behavior of ordinary people. They express this as "people who seek respect". They describe their lives as a "fragile balance between respect and humiliation" (Johnson, 2002: 15).

Third: The "Regime of Leaders" Now

The current reality can be read, by comparison with the experience of the Arab state. By adopting the concepts adopted to read this experience. There are four: "The Search for Rents", political and administrative corruption, "accountcapitalism", and "neo-liberal elite".

1. Difference With the Arab Corporatist State

Political units will be formed, starting from the mandate period on which the new leaders relied to consolidate their power, represented by family and clan structures. In other cases, the family or the family alliance represented the framework of political action and representation rather than the party. Since then, local conflicts have become conflicts of influence and conflicts of a sectarian nature within the dependency. Paul Brass recalled how the power of the colonizer in Nigeria and elsewhere in the 19th century provided the implementers with local identities that consumed their energies to fight around it, while all remained in a state of dependence abroad (Brass, 1991: 281). Lebanon remained immune to the experience of the Arab "radical republics". Military elites changed the state from, as was often the case, to the "state of professional groupings," as the researchers Havehami and Murphy call it (Hashami and Murphy, 1996). This state established representation in parliament for those whom it considered to be representatives of professional groups such as peasants, workers, etc. It was based on a one-party system. In 1958 and 1975, outside interference protected the traditional political elite, the leadership elite, from such transformations and ensured its continued rule.

2. Searching For Rent

The entire Arab experience during the era of "import substitution" and protectionism, as well as during the period of economic liberalization and integration into the international system, was developed by the researcher Stefan King, with the single title "Rent seeking" among the elites and the general public. However, the beneficiaries changed and did not return themselves during the two periods (King, 2009:90). It is called the proceeds of any income derived from land ownership, land, land or geographical location, which provides income from tourism or transit, or from state intervention that allows producers to achieve profitability by raising prices. This is done by establishing customs duties to protect the sector concerned, or by granting the enterprise a monopoly status in its sector. In the first experiment, the distribution of rents by the State took the form of the distribution of land that had been acquired by nationalizations, the provision of customs protection and various forms of support for the new industrial sectors, and employment in the public sector. In the second phase, the privatization of land and the privatization of state-owned productive enterprises were the main form of distribution of rents to new elites (King, 2009: 90).

In the case of Lebanon, the application of the concept of "rent inspection" refers to various practices, the first of which is that politicians benefit from legal monopolies. The "inspection of rents" subsequently took the form of privatization, such as the privatization of the import of hydrocarbons. Other practices, such as the use of the public site for private use, were expressed in contravention of the law. The first two forms do not subject the beneficiary to legal accountability. However, the use of the public website for private use contrary to the law exposes the beneficiary to liability before the judiciary, as a form of political and administrative corruption.

Both polar politicians have enormous monetary wealth and accounts in Switzerland. And they're big landowners. Some of them inherited a large real estate wealth added to it by buying the land of the commons and municipalities at low prices. And they're especially the owners of built-up properties. They are partners in Solidere, which captured the old heart of Beirut. This area was acquired by law by the state in favor of this company. Other areas along the beach have been used by politicians in power to seize them. All of them have made huge fortunes, from high prices to real estate and built-up properties. They have benefited from monopolistic recitals as importers such as the legal monopoly on the import and marketing of gas and the legal monopoly on the import of hydrocarbons. The import of fuel by the private sector of the Lebanese Electricity Company is a profit of $500 million for the importing company. Those who do not benefit directly as an importer in the hydrocarbon sector receive a commission from importers to silence their monopoly. They also benefited from monopolistic promenade as producers of certain intermediate goods such as cement, allowing them to sell their production to the local consumer at a price four times higher than the actual price.

3. Political and Administrative Corruption

Politicians have seized state-allocated funds for infrastructure and public services projects, for which the funds have been disbursed and not implemented. The examples are numerous, including power plants or sewage systems that have not been implemented. They benefited from subsidized loans provided by the Central Bank to the housing sector illegally. The Central Bank has supported housing loans, with beneficiaries paying interest of 1% on the loan they received. Politicians had borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars to buy hundreds of luxury apartments. Judges have also benefited from large loans at 1% interest from the Central Bank, to deposit the amounts they received in banks at an interest rate of 17% (Al-Akhbar, 24/10/2019). Politicians provided protection to government administration workers, who used their positions to obtain illegal funds. This includes the imposition of permits or commissions paid by applicants to obtain import and export licenses, or those who benefit from tax deductions as senior officials, or beneficiaries of naturalization processes. Public works deals were perhaps the usual area for receiving commissions from pledges. Ministers took 10% or 15% of the value of the contract, which benefits the concubine contractors. Whether they are local as in public works, or foreigners as in Internet services. In the latter case, the Minister was asking the foreign contractor to raise the price of the service provided by the State, burdening the State with the burden and putting the difference in his pocket.

4. Capitalism of The Accounting

The use of the concept of "searching for irrigation" in Neo-classical political economics theory has been associated with criticism of the state's intervention in the economy, and the fact that the expansion of the latter's interventions has been seen as a burden on the economy. This is because the beneficiaries of these interventions waste time waiting for the benefit of the allowance to improve their productive efficiency. The use of the concept of "account capitalism" was associated with the experiences of developing countries, including The Arab countries, where privatization in particular provided benefits for some. The aim of the State's leaders is to create a social base to provide them with support.

This concept is a new name given to the well-known phenomenon that researchers have explained in detail since the early 1980s, namely "political submission". This literature only adds to the use of mathematical approaches, and the tools of the economy, to track this phenomenon. The benefit sits only on the presentation of the literature. What characterized this "capitalism" was, however, that it was accompanied by unprecedented authoritarian practices. In a survey conducted in Egypt in 2010, months before the Arab uprisings broke out, the state's role in executing al-Ma'aib at the expense of all was the first reason for complaints and protests (Hamouda and Diwan, 2015). This compares with two other fundamental reasons: the absence of democracy and poor economic conditions. In other a greedy and undeveloped countries, the situation is very different.
People who are interested in providing benefits are spreading through the state. As the economy and society recede, they feel they have to redouble their efforts to survive. The call for the placement of their concerns becomes their main concern. Thanks to them, public life is filled with calculations from the top of the pyramid to the bottom. "Account-capitalism" works as a destruction in the social fabric and in institutions. In particular, employees of public institutions and departments suffer from "sitolicing" on websites and intimidating their employees. The violent "capitalism" of al-Mahsib introduces a rule in dealing with public servants. There is a common denominator among those selected for responsibility. That is, they have experienced failure, or they have something to ask about in their professional files. They are conquering those around them, so that they can impose themselves and force them to accept and deal with them. In all cases, the worst is required professionally. Institutions are transformed into a bazaar for executions at the expense of the seriousness and quality of the services they provide. A member of the government that resigned at the end of October 2019, the head of a parliamentary bloc, instructed the Minister of Information to dismiss an official of the media stations for the transfer of some demonstrations. In other countries, the number of people in the world's most affected countries is estimated at 1.5 million. The Minister himself made a series of appointments and created new jobs as a platform for people from his constituency. This followed the resignation of the government (Al-Akhbar, 5/11/2019).

The economic divide remained dominant in public debate during the Lebanese uprising. that is, how to finance the budget deficit. The government has come up with a project that does not burden ordinary citizens with this funding. Outside the frame of the picture, the hesiti of the ruling on the sites, and their barbaric practices in this context, remained. The need to stop their hands and hold them accountable remained outside this picture. Accountability in this sense is particularly important as a course rifer for the permanence of the protest.

5. Neo-Liberal Elite

We are in the process of completing the privatization of government facilities and institutions that are profitable after 1990. The government's decision to re-establish a new government in 1994 was a very good one. Health institutions, such as government hospitals, have been beaten and replaced by private hospitals contracted as university hospitals. There are sectors that arouse the appetite of politicians the most, such as the telecommunications sector that politicians themselves are struggling to acquire. Many of those who are relied upon to govern belong to the category of "state haters", as general manager of finance, Alan Bevani calls them. There is a current sorting of civil society and public opinion between these "state haters" and those who want to maintain and reform state institutions, because their survival is Lebanon's survival.

In the face of a nihilistic elite, we are interested in adopting Neo-liberal American projects to polish their image and gain power. The word nihilism means that the elite does not consider themselves responsible to its own people, and that any project that becomes acceptable to them if they make gains, even if the price is to displace their people. A minister went to America and returned with the legitimate goal of abolishing all pensions. People's enmity bought him wholesale. The Lebanese, who are relying on a pension barely equal to the minimum wage, are prepared not to beg in the streets.

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    • Sinaan profile imageAUTHOR

      Hafiz Muhammad Adnan 

      2 months ago from Pakistan

      Thank you so much Muhammad Qasim.

      Follow my profile for more work.

    • Muhammadqasim123 profile image

      Muhammad Qasim 

      2 months ago from Pakistan

      Great work hafiz sb

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