By Sanjay Jha
I shall keep this extremely succinct and simple, and come straight to the TWO emerging lessons on the aftermath of the unprecedented revolution for change in the Arab world, particularly, the “ more moderate” Egypt. It can have long-term repercussions , and not just for the immediate neighbors in North Africa and the Middle East.
1) Growth without concomitant income distribution is a prelude to a social upheaval in a highly interconnected world through technology and 24×7 media. For instance, India can ill-afford to believe that doing an “ adda in Davos” is a statement on its economic infallibility , essentially an exaggerated oversell of its demographic dividend . As Egypt shows, that can soon convert into an unbearable liability on the streets. The bottom of the pyramid, talked with reasonable condescension by the corporates in their manpower planning meets , and politically deemed a nuisance value ( Maoists ) by national leaders actually does hold the trump cards in countries with lopsided income inequalities. With 700 million BPL numbers, we need to be seriously concerned, as it only accentuates matters. Urban migration carries with it seeds of rural exploitation.
2) Political leadership besides delivering for the mass-majority must be inspirational, trust-inspiring and highly communicative. The entire universe suddenly looks highly restless, acutely exasperated and easily provoked and determined to challenge failed institutions. The world faces a crisis of credible leadership.
Bottomline: Countries with an uninspiring political leadership and skewed income apportionments among its people will experience severe social disturbances. It does not matter whether it is a military regime or a democratic set-up. And it need not be a million-man march in a central square. It can mutate into several disparate unorganized amorphous forms. And then suddenly explode. Cairo is experiencing that abrupt eruption.