Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Where Next for the Arab Spring? Look At Networked Middle Classes Without Oil

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, March 21 2011

Philip Howard adds one more crucial variable to the discussion of the factors affecting the Arab Spring (see my "Egypt, Tunisia: Generation TXT Comes of Age?"): oil, or the degree to which a country's economy has or hasn't developed a middle-class not dependent on Texas Tea. Howard, whose book "The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Information Technology and Political Islam" offers a complex and nuanced (if dry and somewhat academic) taxonomy for analyzing the varied pace of democratization across the region, suggests that Jordan, Morocco, and Syria may be the closest to experiencing uprisings such as the ones that overthrew despots in Tunisia and Egypt. While noting that they each have complicated histories and unique domestic political profiles, "They also have sophisticated, tech-savvy publics, economies not dependent on fuel exports, and regimes that may try to rig elections in the next two years," he writes on the Oxford University Press blog.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: Glass Half Full

A new Pew study on open government data in the US; the FOIA exemption ruffling transparency advocates' feathers; social media bot farms; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Zucked Up

Mark Zuckerberg responds to criticism of "zero rating" Facebook access in India; turning TVs into computers; how Facebook is changing the way UK users see the upcoming General Election; BuzzFeed's split priorities; a new website for "right-of-center women"; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Mugs

No surprise here, but email list open rates are down; the real reason campaigns want to send you a free bumper sticker; Hillary Clinton wasn't alone in dodging inquiries from the House Oversight Committee about private email accounts; organizing opt-outs from high-stakes testing on Facebook; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Edges

Let the White House know what you think about the new homepage; why Democrats need a competitive primary to maintain their edge in political tech; California Highway Patrol reminded to not talk about how they track political protesters on social media; and much, much more. GO

More