Friday, February 4, 2011

The Youth Unemployment Bomb

The events in Tunisia and Egypt should rightly scare all governments throughout the world. There will be many different views on the catalytic factors that led to the groundswell of public emotions that are threatening to ignite various nations in the Northern African and Middle Eastern belt.

The obvious commonality between Tunisia, Egypt and, Yemen is that these nations have predominantly Muslim populations. I'm no so sure about the relevance of Islam as a common factor for these events. Nor do I think that authoritarianism and lack of freedoms are relevant catalytic factors.

To me the more interesting and relevant common denominator in these nations is the high level of unemployment. Unemployment is the main trigger cause of the unrest.

And, equally so, the preponderance of youths among the unemployed of these nations is another key factor.

My view is that it is the poor economic health of these nations that have created huge numbers of unemployed youth that, in turn, have channeled their considerable restless energies into political protests in these nations.

This is the lesson that we have to quickly learn in Malaysia.

I suggest that the first module be the piece from Bloomberg-Businessweek here.

I sincerely hope that our economic planners and political readers read it and start reviewing how our economy is planned and managed. Prevention is better than cure.

The moral is that if everyone has a fairly decent job that pays a decent wage that puts decent food on the table, there will peace and harmony.

Alternatively, no jobs, no food and plenty of idle time is a dangerous combination.

1 comment:

hishamh said...

Sadly my friend, I think you hit the nail with this one. We're not at that stage yet (I think the numbers are something like 40% youth unemployment in the Middle East), but we're getting there.