Where is the Front Line of the Egyptian Revolution?

We are now being dragged in battles that are of marginal significance to the  aims to the Egyptian revolution. They only alter the distribution of power amongst parties that have a vested interest in maintaining the very same political structure and web of interests that Egyptians revolted against a year and a half ago.

One of he prominent rallying calls of the revolution was “the people want to bring the system down”. The major features of the system where:

  • Opacity: nobody had a clue of what goes on the in corridors of powers where  destinies were being shaped.
  • Insularism: the population felt helpless and that the voices are not heard and their needs are not answered. There was a general feeling that a things were getting worse, not much could be done about it.
  • Overbearingness: the state was the all powerful and would stifle any attempts of independent or group action. NGO work was often restricted and subject to intrusive governmental oversight. 
  • Duplicitousness: the state promoted lies and engaged in disinformation campaigns to justify its existence. It made life difficult for dissenters and free thinkers and tried to isolate (and when no one was looking eliminate) them to prevent any nascent challenge to their authority. 

Those feature gave rise to cronyism and wide spread corruption that made daily  life very bleak for the average Egyptian. Hence, the popular chant in the early days “Bread, Freedom, and Social Justice”. Now the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is  engaged in a power struggle with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Both of them have shown very clearly, during the past year and a half, that they are eager to maintain the promulgate  those features.

The power struggle between MB and SCAF has little bearing on what I see as the a key implicit demand of Egyptian revolution:

To create an open and transparent econo-political system with maximum latitude for popular initiative and collective problem solving.

This can never come about while the above features remain intact. I do not see it worth the effort of the revolutionaries to engage in “symbolic wars” against SCAF or to come to the aide MB as long as those features remain intact. There should be instead a concerted intellectual effort to chart and path that would  eliminate those rotten features and supplanting them by novel and efficient ones.

Chanting in Tahrir against the symptoms (or emergent properties) of the said features will not bring about positive change. The battle now is for outlining a clear plan for system wide transition and forming popular consensus about it.


A Game Theoretic Perspective on the Current Voting Dilemma

I am here trying to expose the rational reasons of my choice. My decision is to invalidate my vote in the upcoming elections.
You have a rational player (lets call him S) who is now entrusted with setting a up game were different parties compete. S has a vested interest in the outcome of the game. S would have to be incredibly altruistic not to make the rules of the game favor the outcome he desires.

You have also have another player, (lets call him M) who has been getting small positive payoffs from S. M was foolish enough to think he could outmaneuver S at his own game. In fact, M was directly responsible for putting S in a position to put down the rules of the game and was immediately given small rewards, while another player (named R) objected strongly. 

In strategic interactions between S and R, S has shown himself to be completely non-altruistic and R suffered severe negative payoffs. In strategic interactions between M and R, M has shown himself to be also completely non-altruistic and R suffered negative payoffs, but not as severe as when it interacted with S. 

R is now asked to support either M or S in a game in which he was eliminated. The outcome of that game will determine who gets to interact strategically with R in the future. R’s support for either player is costly (i.e. it is an acknowledgment of the rules of  the game). R knows that S will not be fully eliminated under any outcome. R calculates that his expected payoff is unlikely to change under any outcome. R knows that although long ago his payoffs were strongly correlated with M, but that has ceased to be the case.
R decides not play this game.