10 Reasons Why Arab Spring Happened and Continues a Year on

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July 14, 2012 00:25
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REASON #2: UNEMPLOYMENT/UNDEREMPLOYMENT

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), unemployment occurs when people are without a job within the past four weeks provided they’re actively seeking work. In contrast to unemployment, under-employment is defined as the employment of a person not doing work that makes full use of their skills and abilities.

In layman terms, unemployment arises when a person loses a job and is unable to find another one for a long period of time. The job may be lost due to a business going bankrupt, downsizing in the public sector announced by the government or privatisation of a corporation previously run by the government.

While losing a job can be part of the economic cycle of an individual, the real problem begins when he/she is unable to find a substitute within a sustainable period of time. A person may lose a job but it is not always with a prior notice and extra pay that can keep the newly unemployed afloat for a while.

Some governments provide help to the unemployed people but it is barely enough to make ends meet. In most third world countries, the governments have basically nothing to offer and the only thing they do is make announcements of job creations by tweaking the economic policies. While on paper these changes may sound promising, the result on the ground is hardly noticeable which fuels further discontent and frustration.

egypt jobless

Jobless graduates demand jobs in Cairo, Egypt and denounce Mubarak regime's inability to provide employment opportunities to the country's youth. Strikes and protests erupted in Egypt and lead to President Hosni Mubarak ouster after staying in power for almost 30 years. Photo - Hussein Malla/AP

The government’s bid to address the problem could be to create jobs but this adds insult to injury in some cases. Employment in the words of a government economic advisor may translate to under-employment in the view of a common man.

Mohammed Bouazizi from Tunisia is a prime example of how unemployment can prove deadly for a regime and how the government’s indifference proves fatal for the whole country. Instead of helping out the 26-year-old who tried his best to seek a job including his attempt to get drafted into the military and applying for jobs in both public and private sectors, the government officials confiscated his vegetables kiosk and effectively barred him from feeding his family and paying for his sister’s university fees.

With no way out, he set himself on fire in front of the government building where his confiscated kiosk rested and registered his extreme condemnation of Ben Ali’s 23-year-old regime and its economic policies. He immolated himself but also burnt the outlandish castles of the ruling elite, spinning the wheel of a massive revolution that changed everything in the country.

Flash Points: Massive unrest due to unemployment can inflame situation in places like Gaza Strip (40%), Afghanistan (35%), Yemen (35%), Libya (30%) and other Middle Eastern and North African countries.

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