I’ve always thought that Marx deserves credit for his emphasis on economic life, even though his knowledge of the economies of his time was virtually non-existent, he was wrong in nearly every detail of his economic analyses, and his prescriptions were the most catastrophically wrong-headed in world history. So I’m always interested in data on how Iraq’s economy is doing.
For some time, the Brookings Institution has published regular reports on Iraq’s economy, along with its security situation, and I checked the Brookings web site to see whether the surge’s success is reflected in increased economic activity. Maybe Brookings has suspended those regular reports, or maybe I just couldn’t find them, but I did run across this article by Michael O’Hanlon.
O’Hanlon is a liberal, so he begins with the Bush-bashing that is de rigueur in polite society. But he has been to Iraq and is an astute observer. He thinks that the economic side of things has been under-emphasized by the administration; the claim is plausible, but how effectively economic growth could have been promoted in a deteriorating security environment is another matter. Nevertheless, O’Hanlon identifies areas of significant improvement:
[E]lectricity production is finally up, roughly 20 percent over typical Saddam Hussein levels