Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

diwan13_RYAD KRAMDIAFPGetty Images_algeria riot Ryad Kramdia/AFP/Getty Images

Algeria’s Second Arab Spring?

Since February, the long-entrenched regime of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been beset by mass protests and demands for economic and political liberalization. The potent mix of anger and hope fueling the demonstrations suggests that the country's elite erred in slow-rolling earlier reforms.

PARIS – A sustained popular revolt by the Algerian people is demonstrating that economic-policy myopia in the face of significant national challenges can pose serious risks to a regime’s survival.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s regime has largely itself to blame for the country’s weak economy. As of the late 2000s, expanded state spending, financed by rising oil revenues, had revitalized the economy, following the devastating civil war of the 1990s. But after the 2011 Arab Spring, state expenditures shot up further, and then increased again in 2014, during Bouteflika’s fourth successful election campaign.

The government’s patronage extravaganza came at a time when the budget was already in deficit. Then the bottom fell out from oil prices. Since then, with annual consumption subsidies costing the equivalent of one-quarter of the economy’s output, Algeria’s fiscal and external deficits have exploded to 15% of GDP.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/fVNfnPX;
  1. lhatheway8_Spencer PlattGetty Images_stockmarketcoronavirus Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    A COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan

    Larry Hatheway

    The rapid escalation of the COVID-19 crisis may be setting the stage for a global recession. Economic policymakers have no time to waste in preparing a response – preferably one that makes full use of low and falling bond yields, below-target inflation, and the lessons of the last recession.

    0
  2. fischer166_JIM WATSONAFP via Getty Images_trumplookingangrywef Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

    The West’s Final Countdown?

    Joschka Fischer

    With the US presidential election approaching, no one can say they didn't foresee the possibility of Donald Trump winning a second term – an event that would pose an existential threat to the very idea of "the West." So why are European leaders spending their time squabbling over agriculture subsidies?

    6

Edit Newsletter Preferences