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.
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