Most observers have been rather disappointed at the changes that have happened due to the Arab spring. In Egypt it is now two years since the president was deposed, and still the riots and clashes continue. Glance over to Tunisia and Libya and you see pretty much the same thing, the dictators have gone yet the trouble goes on.
So why haven’t things changed, why don’t we see peace and prosperity throughout these Arab lands. The reality is that although the likes of Gadaffi were unpopular and responsible for many ills – the revolution was about more than just a dictator. These revolutions were also economic and environmental – they were about food and jobs.
The dictators have gone but food is still expensive, the jobs are scarce and the people still live hard and tough lives. The main trigger in Tunisia was the cost of food – hungry people have very little too lose from challenging the status quo. Climate change seems to be the cause of a lot of these problems – droughts and extreme weather across the world push up the costs of all food stuff. The world is producing less and less food – down 3% in the last three years.
Heatwaves in Russia, droughts in Africa and floods all across India and Pakistan to just mention a few. Similar extreme weather in the corn belts of the US and other events effecting the food baskets of the world.
Our total reliance on fossil fuels for the majority of our energy needs only makes the problem worse. The uprisings effect the price of oil, the price rises and further impacts the costs of food – which caused the riots in the first place. The replacement leaders are instantly faced with a bigger problem than the previous dictator ever hard.
The bad guys might have gone, some of the restrictions will have disappeared. You can surf the internet more freely in Libya nowadays – you don’t need to start hopping across the net to buy VPN and proxies to keep yourself hidden anymore. But the people are still hungry, they still need jobs, money and food for their families. Until these problems are solved freedom won’t look that appealing.
The internet provides the spark, it’s easy now to see lifestyles and how others live. Sometimes economics get’s in the way, but a family watching European TV online – like this, will realize that it’s perfectly possible for a rich country like Libya to provide the same life and services if the leaders allow.