Wednesday, October 09, 2013

9-Oct-13: Putting a dollar value on the past two years of neighborhood misery

Cairo this week [Image Source]
It's highly doubtful that there are still significant numbers of proponents for the view that the Middle East (leaving aside Israel, understandably) is undergoing an Arab Spring. If it ever had any substance, the claim is now thoroughly discredited. 

Today the Wall Street Journal comes to give it a proper funeral:
While the social and political costs of the Arab Spring have been carefully counted, the economic ones haven’t yet been explored quite as deeply. HSBC’s economists took a stab at it this week, estimating affected countries will have lost $800 billion of economic output by the end of next year. The premise is that GDP in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Bahrain – all of which have in some way felt the effects of revolution and unrest sweeping the region over the past two years – will come in 35% lower in 2014 than it would have been had that turmoil not taken hold. Between 2011 and 2014, the HSBC report says, lost output amounts to about $800 billion.
“In lost life, foregone economic output and weakened political institutions, the costs of the Arab Spring have been extraordinarily heavy and continue to mount,” the report says.
The full price to be paid in the very troubled places impacted by this process will not be confined to an economic one.

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