Yasser M. El-Shimy checks in on Egypt:
About 21% of work-eligible young Egyptians (29 years old and younger) cannot find a job. To put matters in perspective, the current unemployment rate in the U.S., during one of the country's worst economic recessions, is below 10%. But, I am not surprised. The state in Egypt has failed to regain jobs lost during the transition from a statist economy devised by Nasser into a semi-capitalist one championed by Sadat, and aggressively pursued by Mubarak. This spells trouble for Egypt's "social contract." The Egyptian population has surrendered the right to political participation, since Nasser's rule, in exchange for government employment. In fact, Nasser promised every university graduate (education is free, it should be noted) a government job. For better or worse, Mubarak has spent much of his time in the 'Abdin Palace trying to wean Egyptians off the government. The problem, however, is that Egyptians are failing to create jobs, or are simply ill-prepared to assume the kind of jobs a modern economy requires.
(Hat tip: Tom Ricks)
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