Development, Ancient Egypt, and National Liberation: An Examination of Economic Growth, Nationalism, and Governmental Ethics
Lamont DeHaven King, Ph.D.

This paper examines the 20th century transition from the European colonial civilizing mission to an internationally sanctioned development agenda, premised on perpetual economic growth. It asks whether a single nation can extricate itself from this international system and asserts, along with many Egyptologists, that ancient Egypt was the first nation in history and the earliest attempt to combine an ethical existence (Maat) with economic stability in an international milieu. It shows further that this morally grounded government also had to be effective; it had to keep the standard of living as consistently high as possible. However, the strength of this ethical system, which was ultimately codified during the Middle Kingdom, was tested by foreign invasion. Despite their retention of the Egyptian bureaucratic scribal tradition that was essential to successful governance, the alien Hyksos rulers did not embrace Maat, which, consequently, engendered a national liberation movement. Finally, this analysis of ancient Egypt demonstrates that religious ideals-ethics, when combined with practical governmental policies, are compatible with development, if development is not conceptualized simply as a commitment to economic expansion.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/rhps.v6n2a1