What do the Arab Spring, the London riots and the Greek debt crisis have in common? They have all happened in environments of rampant joblessness. In fact, it might not be far off to say that a big share of the world’s political and economic turmoil is fuelled in one way or another by unemployment.That is why, when policymakers and economists meet in Washington this week for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, unemployment will be prominent on the agenda.After all, the ultimate measure of economic success is not whether the stock or bond markets go up ??? though it sometimes seems that way ??? but rather whether a society can provide jobs for its citizens. A society that fails will see other problems multiply in the form of political unrest, sinking tax revenue and soaring debt.Greece, which is threatening to undermine the global financial system, is a prime example. An underlying cause of its debt problem is the country’s dysfunctional economy and an ossified job market that keeps out newcomers and outsiders.???The Greek labour market clearly plays a huge role,??? said Jacob Funk Kierkegaard, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. ???Greece is totally overregulated and systemically corrupt. Everybody is a protected group. You clearly need to get rid of that.???Frustrated rebelsLikewise, it is no accident that the countries in the Middle East and North Africa where political unrest has flared have some of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the world, with young people nearly four times as likely to be jobless as adults, according to the International Labor Organization in Geneva. An unusually high number of the unemployed are well educated.The long-term success of uprisings that toppled strongmen in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya will probably depend in large part on whether the new governments can provide jobs for the frustrated young people who propelled regime change.For that reason,
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