It’s the Egyptian economy, stupid!Millions of Egyptians took to the crowded streets on Sunday, protesting against President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-led government. The protesters represent a wide swath of Egyptian society and have a variety of complaints, but some of their primary concerns seem to be economic.
As the blog Rebel Economy points out, since the Arab Spring began in January of 2011, Egypt has seen an increase in unemployment, slowed economic growth, a decrease in its foreign reserves and a weakening currency.
For ordinary Egyptians, these statistics have meant an increase in water prices, extended power blackouts and excruciating lines to purchase gas and bread, all of which seem to have gotten worse under Morsi.
“It’s basic, day-to-day things that brought the median Egyptian to the streets,” said Eric Trager, an Egypt analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “People have grown frustrated with the Brotherhood [because] Morsi has never put forth an economic plan, just a list of aspirations. And when he tried to do economic reforms–raising taxes, cutting subsidies on gas, having curfews for restaurants and stores–he withdrew them in 12 hours; the Brotherhood’s executive authority told him to dial it back because…[the reforms] would hurt them politically.”
It’s no wonder, then that Egyptians are angry. The question now is, to what extent will that anger boil over into violence?
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