March 02, 2008
Explosions and MENA - never mind the political bollocks
A rather overlooked article, if I am not mistaken, and certainly complementary to my last post from The New York Times on basic cost of living inflation in MENA.
While it is easy to be critical of some simplistic details in the article, never mind background economics, the reality is clear and this anecdotal article conveys it. Basic cost of living in both oil and non-oil states is escalating at rapid rates, agiven global commodity prices in food and basic goods (and, yes, energy), and that is hitting an emerging lower and proper middle class hard.
Worse, this is coming off of barely realised gains in the past 5 years (for the 'new' professional or semi-professional middle or quasi middle classes).
I don't care much for the whanking on about party political manoeuvres in any given country - but if readers want to worry, bloody well worry less about momentary ebb and flow of political liberalisation (damned bollocks if you ask me, cart before the bloody horse). Rather worry about basic cost of living inflation hitting an emerging class of people that could, with a bit of time, actually support and drive economic and secondarily political reform knocking back the rent seeking elites. This is, to be blunt, fundamentally dangerous. Micro-cosmically, a domestic driven development like this in Egypt in the 80s helped driven a minority of Egyptian 'up coming almost middle classes' into radicalism. Flat line poverty and stagnation is less dangerous, ceterius paribus, than almost comfortable people being pushed suddently into stagnation and declinging fortunes. Sadly the American Administration seems incapable of intelligently and pro-actively managing its own (self generated) economic problems, let alone global risks.
Leave aside whanking on about the Awakenings, and other Iraq rubbish - dig into the background on cost of living pressures in MENA - not optimism driving.
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Completely off-topic -- sorry, but for some reason I'm not allowed to post on the New Month Open Thread. Maybe because it's Last Month's Open Thread by now...
Opinions on this curious piece wanted, both on the subject(s) and the article.
Posted by: alle at March 4, 2008 02:43 AM
Can't set up New Month where I am at, but if one of our lazier contributors could do so, it would be nice.
Interesting New York Times story but it has alot of oddities, so as to not take totally at face value.
Other interesting story on Gaza perhaps to be added there from Vanity Fair. Interesting enough to bypass our Israeli-Palestinian issue annoyance.
Posted by: matthew hogan at March 4, 2008 01:02 PM
Right. Vanity Fair link here.
Also, yesterday Wafa Sultan was back on al-Jazeera's al-Ittijah al-Mu`akis, debating some crazy Egyptian xenophobe about Muhammad cartoons. She refused to talk/shout about anything other than the fundamental evilness of the Quran, and he started every other sentence by mentioning the CIA and "Zionist intelligence services". Spectacular television entertainment, but perhaps not so good for mutual understanding. Let's see what parts MEMRI pick out this time.
Posted by: alle at March 5, 2008 01:19 AM