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This article explores the question of national development in Morocco considering the institution of the makhzen. It asserts that to adequately assess Morocco’s national development as a post-colonial country, it is necessary to rely on an economic model based in politics rather than in theories exclusively informed by classical and neoclassical economics. Among the key economists called upon to investigate the validity of politics in discussions of national development and income inequality are the following: Simon Kuznets, Thomas Piketty, W. A. Lewis, and the duo Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, all of whom continue a long tradition of economic sociology that had been established by George Simmel, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Thorstein Veblen. Acemoglu and Robinson offer an especially useful theoretical model to discuss Morocco in light of its pervasive political institution: the makhzen. Overall, the paper demonstrates that inadequate national institutions, such as the makhzen in the case of Morocco, adversely impact national development and increase the level of income inequality.

Author Bio(s)

Zakaria Fatih is full professor of French and Francophone studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He is interested in the literature and the cinema of the Francophone world in general and the Maghreb in particular. He also has a keen interest in critical theory. In addition to his two books in French, the first on alterity and truth in the discourse of the French Enlightenment, and the second on tradition and modernity in the Maghreb, he has published articles and book chapters on a variety of topics in French studies, and is presently working on a book project on indigeneity in Francophone studies. He was the review editor for the section Society and Culture of The French Review from 2015 to 2018 and is now assistant editor for the same journal.