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After the crisis, a worldwide rise in unrest?

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Peter Apps
Feb 28, 2011

With the Middle East in turmoil, other authoritarian states jumpy and post-crisis economic pain prompting protest in western Europe and elsewhere, some suspect a systemic rise in worldwide unrest might just be beginning.

Instability in the already volatile oil-producing Middle East could produce a feedback loop where unrest pushes up energy prices, fuelling inflation and deepening discontent both in the region and around the world.

In most countries, the so-called “misery index” — an aggregation of unemployment and inflation long seen as a warning of protest and instability — is pushing higher.

“After an extended period of economic growth and political apathy across the developed and emerging worlds, we may have reached a new political cycle — one where populations take out their grievances on their leaders and their associates,” wrote Citi political analyst Tina Fordham. “This won’t be limited to the emerging world.”

In democracies, elections provide a release valve — Ireland has seen some of the worst post-crisis economic pain but minimal unrest in part because voters knew they could oust the government they blame for the crisis in elections this weekend.

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This article was posted: Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:48 am

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