Despite the loud cries of social injustice, poverty, economic collapse and corruption, Egypt's failure is not an economic one. It was reckless political disregard and corruption that rises to the level of gross and criminal negligence.
In order to advance in the twenty first century, Egypt must maintain its economic momentum and must at all cost avoid falling back to socialist tendencies that, although popular in the short term, will certainly provide no real growth for the future.
The danger now is that a vocal segment of the population is demanding the perceived security of state jobs along with the subsidies that come with it, rather than the more difficult option of an open and free economy where employees compete for jobs that fluctuate with the ups and downs of a free and open market. Without a strong leader on economic issues, the vociferous street will rule for some time to come. That's a dismal prospect at the very least.
It is said that revolutions are judged by their outcome not by their intentions. While the intent of the Egyptian revolution in short was to restore dignity to the people was a noble one, the economic outcome may very well be difficult for many of us in Egypt to accept. The truth about the performance of Egypt's economy in recent years is already the revolution's first victim. The second victim may very well be the economy itself.
Egyptian revolutionary zeal and the thirst for retribution and score settling is driving a hurried revisionist history of the recent Egyptian economic achievements over the last six to 10 years that is as fabricated as the political system that Mubarak had in place.
Whether you speak to economists in Washington, London, Brussels or Paris, there is a unanimous consensus that the Egyptian economy over the last six years had made great strides and was being lauded and encouraged worldwide. Just as the successes of the economy are unquestionable, so is the fact that the wealth generated by that very same economy inevitably remained with the top 1% of the population and did not reach its ultimate goal of alleviating poverty through the "trickle down" effect. The rich did get richer and the poorer lagged behind. No arguments here!
Marching to the revolutionary beat and frenzy, the Egyptian media has paraded an endless stream of "experts" who have vilified not only the people who had built the economy over the last decade but also the economy's track record itself.
World renowned Harvard and MIT trained professionals like Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid, the former Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, are being accused of corruption and laying waste to government funds. A fact that is shocking to most if not all Western analysts and officials alike. Such accusations do not do this well-intended revolution any service. Regardless how hard these revisionists try, as Egyptians before them chiseled off the achievements of previous rulers from temple walls and columns, the truth cannot be denied. This is not, and was not, an economic failure.
No need to point out that the Egyptian economy produced at least 4 million new jobs in just under six years and many other facts. With access to the Internet, Egyptians can figure that out for themselves. Or did the entire world conspire to cook the books for Egypt, as some critics on Egyptian television now claim was done by the previous government.
This ongoing effort to distort the real, positive economic track record is the ugliest form of corruption one can perpetuate. Instead of money, the participants in this charade are stealing the truth and misleading the people of Egypt. A greater disservice to the country I cannot imagine. It may also very well be the first step in attempting to change the direction of the economy or dismantle the reforms that were achieved in recent years. Needless to say, this is illogical, misinformed and may prove disastrous for the Egyptian economy and subsequently, to the Egyptian people themselves.
Egypt has experienced real and measurable economic growth produced and pushed through by the Mubarak economic team, corruption charges notwithstanding. To change direction to a socialist-leaning system would be slaughtering the goose that lays the golden eggs to feed a few, and all that because someone had squandered the eggs. I say let's keep the goose alive and get someone else to better manage the eggs! Having said that and after reading just about every opposition paper and after watching every television talk show in Cairo since the ouster of Mubarak, I can just about smell the goose cooking in the oven already.
Tarek Ragheb is an Egyptian-American, senior U.S. aerospace executive, former U.S. military officer and investor in Egypt.