Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Small carrots and big sticks

As Egypt continues to guide Lebanon towards normalization, its own backyard is in flames. Mustapha Basiouni, writing in Al-Akhbar (in Arabic), offers his analysis of the current socio-economic situation in Egypt, after the increase in food prices of about 100% and the promised rise in salaries of 30%. Below is a summary of selected sections of the article.

The Egyptian regime has traditionally addressed the demands of the population with a combination of small carrots and big sticks. While repressing the demonstrators with live ammunition and leaving many dead, a rise of 30% was promised, but not yet enacted. The raise translates in a wage increase of about $15 for most employees. And while the raise is not expected to be effective until the end of the month, the 100% increase in food prices that was also determined by government came into effect at the beginning of the month, leaving the people one month short. The salary increase will cost the government 12 billions Egyptian Liras, but the increase in food prices will save them 15 billions Egyptian Liras. Thus, the government, largely made up of business men found a way to make money off the people. The new rallying cry of the workers unions is "Take back the raise and the price increase".

1 comment:

Steve Bloom said...

Rami, I assume the wheat rust outbreak in Iran is old news to you, but I hadn't seen you post on it and so am passing along the link.

In a somewhat related vein see this.