Middle East social indicators

Country pop. (m) median age jobless (%) below poverty line (%) internet users (m)

Algeria

34.5

27.1

9.9

23

4.7

Egypt

80.5

24

9.6

20

20

Jordan

6.4

21.8

13.4

14.2

1.6

Lebanon

4.09

29.4

na

28

1

Libya

6.4

24.2

30

33

0.35

Morocco

31.6

26.5

9.8

15

13.2

Saudi Arabia

25.7

24.9

10.8

na

9.6

Syria

22.1

21.5

8.3

11.9

4.4

Tunisia

10.5

29.7

14

3.8

3.5

W Bank & Gaza

2.5

20.9

16.5

46

1.3

Yemen

23.4

17.89

35

45.2

2.2

how does the US compare? I think we have worse statistics.

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Middle East social indicators

Country pop. (m) median age jobless (%) below poverty line (%) internet users (m)

Algeria

34.5

27.1

9.9

23

4.7

Egypt

80.5

24

9.6

20

20

Jordan

6.4

21.8

13.4

14.2

1.6

Lebanon

4.09

29.4

na

28

1

Libya

6.4

24.2

30

33

0.35

Morocco

31.6

26.5

9.8

15

13.2

Saudi Arabia

25.7

24.9

10.8

na

9.6

Syria

22.1

21.5

8.3

11.9

4.4

Tunisia

10.5

29.7

14

3.8

3.5

W Bank & Gaza

2.5

20.9

16.5

46

1.3

Yemen

23.4

17.89

35

45.2

2.2

how does the US compare? I think we have worse statistics.

Egypt and complexity

January 31, 2011

Protest’s Old Guard Falls In Behind the Young

Political organizers, many younger than 30, are taking the lead in efforts to topple a regime older than they are.

Political Crisis Starts to Be Felt Economically

Shortages of fuel, rising prices for food and a slowdown of many kinds of businesses are increasing the sense of crisis.

Unrest in Egypt Unsettles Global Markets

The instability could hinder oil shipments, raise energy costs and drive equity prices down.

For those of us thinking about world sustainability, this is sobering to see the leel of disruption: break in food, upshot in energy prices. Hints of what moves toward sustainability could look like, since they require large dislocations of current economic activity.

Political events of the past two years have delivered a more profound and devastating message: American democracy has been conclusively conquered by American capitalism. Government has been disabled or captured by the formidable powers of private enterprise and concentrated wealth. Self-governing rights that representative democracy conferred on citizens are now usurped by the overbearing demands of corporate and financial interests. Collectively, the corporate sector has its arms around both political parties, the financing of political careers, the production of the policy agendas and propaganda of influential think tanks, and control of most major media.

What the capitalist system wants is more—more wealth, more freedom to do whatever it wishes. This has always been its instinct, unless government intervened to stop it. The objective now is to destroy any remaining forms of government interference, except of course for business subsidies and protections. Many elected representatives are implicitly enlisted in the cause.

Yes, now what happens? A paroxysm of Tunisia, Egypt… dominoes? heading this way? When and if, can we then turn to susainability? Bank y Moon wants to, says it is his new brief.
The Guardian has
Ban Ki-moon ends hands-on involvement in climate change talks
UN secretary general will redirect efforts to making more immediate gains in clean energy and sustainable development

u3_20_24_ba.jpg (637×384)

January 27, 2011

the bumps are seasonal. The trend is an argument against the efficacy of education alone.

re Obama by Robert Sheer

January 26, 2011

I had expected Barack Obama to be his eloquent self, appealing to our better nature, but instead he was mealy-mouthed in avoiding the tough choices that a leader should delineate in a time of trouble. He embraced clean air and a faster Internet while ignoring the depth of our economic pain and the Wall Street scoundrels who were responsible — understandably so, since they so prominently populate the highest reaches of his administration. He had the effrontery to condemn “a parade of lobbyists” for rigging government after he appointed the top Washington representative of JPMorgan Chase to be his new chief of staff.

The speech was a distraction from what seriously ails us: an unabated mortgage crisis, stubbornly high unemployment and a debt that spiraled out of control while the government wasted trillions making the bankers whole. Instead the president conveyed the insular optimism of his fat-cat associates: “We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.” How convenient to ignore the fact that this bubble of prosperity, which has failed the tens of millions losing their homes and jobs, was floated by enormous government indebtedness now forcing deep cuts in social services including state financial aid for those better-educated students the president claims to be so concerned about.

I do agree with this assessment. I suspect Obama is digging in deeper to a hole of failed expectations. This was not a state of the union, it was PR and electioneering. I don’t like it. More to say in the next days..

One simple indicator is the fraction of prime-working-age adults — that is, 25-54 — that are, in fact, employed. Why focus on that age group? Because employment rates for the young are strongly affected by things like student aid policy, while those for the over-55 set are strongly affected by retirement policy; so if you want to know how many of the people who really should be working are managing to find jobs, the 25-54 sample is useful. Here’s America versus the cheese-eaters over the years:

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This series of postings are very helpful. From a climate point of view, these folks are caught in a need that is pressing. Are they available for climate change thinking? I would draw the conclusion that the Americans, being unemployed and disgruntled, are more likely.