Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Antûn SAADEH and the actuality of his social-nationalist doctrine

Samia Wissam, PhD candidate, economics

A pioneer of the modern renaissance in the Arab world, Antûn Saadeh was born in 1904 in Lebanon. He spent part of his youth abroad. Back home in 1930, he began contacts in the student community and founded the Syrian Social-Nationalist Party in 1932, paving the way for a new conception of nationalism in the Arab world. For him, the nation would be the unity of life of a group of people in a well-defined geographical environment. His philosophy would, thus, be based on the permanent interaction between the material and the spiritual, and would be called “Material-Spiritualism” ("al-madrahiyya"). It also paved the way for a new terminology that would serve this new ideology. Saadeh used a personal method of expression and argumentation to persuade his fellow citizens and spread his principles of “rebirth", its added value was to establish these ideas in institutions. This author was executed on July 8, 1949 by the Lebanese government. Why is Antûn Saadeh chosen as the subject of this study? It is believed that Saadeh should be studied as part of institutionalized studies for several reasons, because: In terms of terminology and method of expression, he has paved a new way, as will be seen later on in the article. Antûn Saadeh has been obscured for various reasons; perhaps it is mainly due to the war he declared to the "exploiters of the people" in different ways. All the institutions working in his homeland had an interest in putting him in the shadows, thus taking a defensive position against an ideology that would threaten the confessional system, religious and economic feudalism, self-centeredness and all those who proclaimed nationalism described by this author as "illusory", and which went against "Natural Syria".


Keywords: Antûn SAADEH, social-nationalism, institutionnalisme