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 thursday >

Beyond @Congressedits, Capitol Hill Looks for Entry to Wikipedia

As he recently told techPresident, the creator of Congressedits did not aim to make Members of Congress look bad, but said he hoped that they would recognize the importance of Wikipedia as a public space and engage more with its community. "If staffers and politicians identified as Wikipedians, that would be super. You could imagine politicians' home pages with a list of their recent edits, that they would be proud of the things that they are doing." On Capitol Hill, there is in fact interest in making that vision a reality, starting off with an initial conversation that could create a framework for more Wikipedians in Congress. GO

wednesday >

In the Philippines, Citizens Go Undercover With Bantay to Monitor Public Offices

The Philippines, a country of almost 100 million, is considered among the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia, despite a boost in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in the past few years (from 134th in 2010 to 94th in 2013 out of 175.) Corruption involves all levels of government, but benefits also from a mindset of tolerance, says Happy Feraren, the co-founder of Bantay.ph, an anti-corruption educational initiative that teaches citizens how to monitor the quality of government services, sometimes by going undercover. GO

More