In Egypt, teacher salaries are so low that it's common for students to pay for private tutorials (often from the same teachers), and social critics have lamented that poor education has deprived generations of the skills needed to think critically - and to dissent. "The 80 million people have no power, no knowledge, and they are not organized," one of Egypt's most outspoken social critics, feminist writer Nawal el-Saadawi, remarked last year. "Change the education. Work on the mind of the people. There is no mind here."
The other factor is the Army. In Tunisia, at a critical turning point, the Army took the side of the protesters in the street: it refused to fire on demonstrators. In Egypt, however, the military stands with Mubarak. The Interior Ministry, which runs the police, stands with Mubarak. Mubarak knows better than to falter on security, Egyptians say. "The government here is stronger than it was in Tunisia - that's why people are scared," says one Cairene citizen. "The jails are for people who protest these days. No one demands their rights anymore."
The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?