January 6, 2013

HOW’S THAT ARAB SPRING THING WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? “At a central Cairo produce market, vendors have increased prices for green beans by 33 per cent, tomatoes by 50 per cent and zucchini and bananas by 100 per cent. Imported coffee prices have risen more than 20 per cent. The price of bread, a staple of the Egyptian diet, has gone up by 20 per cent in poor neighbourhoods and by even more in well-to-do areas.”

Walter Russell Mead comments: “Most Egyptians live very close to the margin; a 20 percent rise in the price of bread means that many people will be eating fewer calories and giving less food to their kids. For people in this situation, the only important political question is the availability of the basics you need for survival. The Muslim Brotherhood promised change; so far, the change involves mostly belt-tightening.”

As I’ve noted before, when you import half your calories, you shouldn’t be discouraging tourism, which is what brings the foreign exchange. Barbaric laws, mass sexual assaults on foreign women in public places, and general instability don’t do much for tourism.