How much does a multination series of democratic grassroots uprisings in the Middle East cost? That seems like a pretty difficult figure to pin down, but Geopolicity, a political risk consultancy, gave it a shot. They estimate that the Arab Spring cost affected countries a little more than $55 billion--$20.6 billion wiped from nations' GDPs and another $35.3 billion lost from government finances, Reuters is reporting. The countries where the fighting has been the bloodiest--Libya and Syria--have also been the hardest hit economically. Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen have also been negatively affected, while oil producers who used handouts to pacify citizens--United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait--saw GDPs rise with rising gas prices. Because of the net effect of these counteracting forces, the region overall saw a $38.9 billion boom in productivity last year--an increase "mixed but positive in aggregate terms," the report says. But of course, the value of democratic reform doesn't show up in GDP numbers in the short term.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.