The ‘Arab Spring’: Role of Elites and the Specifics of Society
Socio-economic development in the Arab world is an important element of global pattern changes in the early 21st century. They show a complex interaction of processes in the masses of the new young "Internet generations" and the elites, and somewhat forgotten gastarbiters. Matrix of kingdoms and republics, oil and non-oil countries make situation more complex for the region than for any separate country. From our viewpoint the political spring in the Arab world requires, first of all, the analysis of the Arab society, its nature and characteristics that distinguish it from societies of the Christian tradition of Europe and the Americas. And is it revolt of the middle class in one oil country or a rebellion of tribes? The new middle class, the information revolution and the dispossessed masses, including migrant workers in the background of the huge concentration of wealth of the ruling regimes represent the socio-economic reality of the Middle East that will be present in international politics in the next decade. And finally - to what extent the lesson of Lybia can be applicable to other oil countries? What may be lessons for other elites?
The article analyzes the specifics of urbanization dynamics in Egypt, which is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, there was a shift from the logistic trend in the 1970s, and the share of urban population stopped growing. The UN data analysis shows that such a shift usually occurs against the background of very serious economic difficulties (and other problems associated with them). However, the urban population proportion stopped growing in Egypt when the country was experiencing a period of exceedingly rapid economic growth. We find labor migration of unprecedented scale to be the main reason which engendered this seemingly paradoxical situation. We further proceed to analyze the UN forecast on the dynamics of the Egyptian urban population proportion up to 2050, which implies a return to the logistic trend and rapid growth of the urban population share, which is fraught with socio-political instability risks. However, we present data proving that the logistic urbanization trajectory is not inevitable for Egypt, and the destabilization risks connected with the rapid increase of urban population share are largely irrelevant to Egypt in the forecasted period.
It is not surprising that Mubarak’s administration “overlooked” the social explosion. Indeed, statistical data righteously claimed that the country was developing very successfully. Economic growth rates were high (even in the crisis years). Poverty and inequality levels were among the lowest in the Third World. Global food prices were rising, but the government was taking serious measures to mitigate their effect on the poorest layers of the population. Unemployment level (in per cent) was less than in many developed countries of the world and, moreover, was declining, and so were population growth rates. What would be the grounds to expect a full-scale social explosion? Of course, the administration had a sort of reliable information on the presence of certain groups of dissident “bloggers”, but how could one expect that they would be able to inspire to go to the Tahrir any great masses of people? It was even more difficult to figure out that Mubarak’s regime would be painfully struck by its own modernization successes of the 1980s, which led to the sharp decline of crude death rate and especially of infant and child mortality in 1975–1990. Without these successes many young Egyptians vehemently demanding Mubarak’s resignation (or even death) would have been destined to die in early childhood and simply would not have survived to come out to the Tahrir Square.
This paper represents an initial report on findings fro a study aimed at analyzing several key aspects of middle class development in the Russian regions, namely:
• Federal and regional government programs to stimulate the growth of the middle class (content, tools of implementation, effectiveness); • Behavioral strategies and economic behavior (consumption patterns, propensity to save, investment) of different sections of Russian middle class; • Middle class value orientation and political preferences (including preferences for democracy).
The selection of regions for our study was made after consultations with the leading Russian experts on regional problems: Irina Busygina, Leonid Smirniagin, Nikolai Petrov, and Rostislav Turovsky. Their expertise and readiness to help us significantly aided us in choosing our case studies. The criteria we used in selecting regions were the following:
• A relatively high level of urban development (this excludes backward regions); • Variation in the level of socio-economic development: region-donor versus region-recipient of federal financial assistance; • Political orientation of the regional government: democratic versus authoritarian.
This book provides an in-depth comparative analysis of inequality and the stratification of the digital sphere.
Grounded in classical sociological theories of inequality, as well as empirical evidence, this book defines ‘the digital divide’ as the unequal access and utility of internet communications technologies and explores how it has the potential to replicate existing social inequalities, as well as create new forms of stratification. The Digital Divide examines how various demographic and socio-economic factors including income, education, age and gender, as well as infrastructure, products and services affect how the internet is used and accessed. Comprised of six parts, the first section examines theories of the digital divide, and then looks in turn at:Highly developed nations and regions (including the USA, the EU and Japan); Emerging large powers (Brazil, China, India, Russia); Eastern European countries (Estonia, Romania, Serbia); Arab and Middle Eastern nations (Egypt, Iran, Israel); Under-studied areas (East and Central Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa).
Providing an interwoven analysis of the international inequalities in internet usage and access, this important work offers a comprehensive approach to studying the digital divide around the globe. It is an important resource for academic and students in sociology, social policy, communication studies, media studies and all those interested in the questions and issues around social inequality.
This is the second volume in a series of five books bringing together the results of intensive research on the national systems of innovation (NSI) in the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. This book analyses the co-evolution of inequality and NSI across the BRICS economies. Inequality and Development Challenges argues that inequalities (assets, access to basic services, infrastructure, knowledge, race, gender, ethnicity, and geographic location) that go beyond the aspects of income, must be factored into development strategies since the benefits of innovation are not distributed equally. It combines original and detailed data, making this book an invaluable resource for researchers and scholars in economics, development studies and political science, as well as policymakers and development practitioners interested in the BRICS countries.
This paper represents an initial report on findings for a study aimed at analyzing several key aspects of middle class development in the Russian regions (subjects of Federation - oblasts, krays, autonomous republics), namely: Federal and regional government programs to stimulate the growth of the middle class (content, tools of implementation, effectiveness); Behavioral strategies and economic behavior (consumption patterns propensity to save, investment) of different sections of Russian middle class; Middle class value orientation and political preferences (including preferences for democracy).
Based on the data of European Social Survey we made a research of the opinion of the middle class on the welfare and social assistance, the main functions of the state in resolving a number of social issues in different countries with different models of social policy. The results of investigation showed that the population's vision of the role of the government in solution of the social problems, as well as of its general functions is different in various countries. Besides we can speak about a certain difference of attitudes of the middle class and working class regarding the social support program.
social policies, Middle class, working class, Public opinion, welfare