Tunisia. Egypt. Libya. And Now Bahrain. Protests have spread throughout the Middle East like a wild fire — and you might assume that it’s all just a matter of popular sentiment. But if you take a step back, you find that the countries that have seen the most protests also share some deep, structural similarities.
This infographic by Elefint Designs lays them out. Granted, it’s not going to win any awards for clarity or legibility, but the big stats are there, front and center. Right below the name of each country, in green, you see the number of years that the current leader has held power. And below that, in white, you see the current unemployment rate.
(The chart also has several other stats, if you read closely: The blue pie chart shows the portion of the population under 25; the green arc shows the per capita income compared to the U.S.; and the red arc shows the percent living in poverty.)
Of course, what leaps out at you that precisely those countries with the oldest dictators or the worst employment prospects or some combination of the two are the ones where people have revolted: Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, and Iran (though the latter have been heavily suppressed in recent months). If you believe that ossified bureaucracy that isn’t responding to the people is the key cause of uprisings, you’d also suspect that for now, no more countries will get swept up in the wave. CK