I also cited a post of Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya showing how Pan Arabism is on the rise and could present wider geopolitical problems for the West if not handled appropriately. The demographics of the region are youth-dominated, and the problem is that youth feels left out of the political process and is cut out of the economic picture.
The West must address this challenge creatively. The US especially cannot hang out the promise of democracy and progress without delivering on this promise. Roubini concludes that what is needed to do this is a new "Marshall Plan" for MENA.
... the time to act is now. The transition from autocracy to democracy in the Middle East is likely to be bumpy and unstable, at best. In countries with pent-up demand for higher income and welfare, democratic fervor could lead to large budget deficits, excessive wage demands, and high inflation, ultimately resulting in severe economic crises.
So a bold new assistance program should be designed for the region, modeled on the Marshall Plan in Western Europe after WWII, or on the support offered to Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Financing should come from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as from bilateral support provided by the US, the European Union, China, and the Gulf states. The goal should be to stabilize these countries’ economies as they undertake their delicate political transitions.
This is an area where MMT principles could play a formative role, especially the employment assurance program. The government acting as employer of last resort extends a job guarantee for anyone willing and able to work in order to provide employment for anyone without a job offer from the private sector.
The wage associated with the employment assurance program would be under the minimum wage offered in the private sector so that government would not be competing with the private sector. The employment assurance program provides a buffer of employed instead of a buffer of unemployed.
(If you are new to MMT and this raises your eyebrows, the employee assurance program has been exhaustively explored and documented by professionals studying employment. See, for example, CofFEE — Centre of Full Employment and Equity for explanation and references.)
The employee assurance program has several benefits.
1. An employment assurance program greatly reduces or eliminates unemployment. Unemployment is associated with many negative social and economic factors, and it is a key factor in the present unrest.
2. An employment assurance program transfers unused resources to the public sector for public purpose, which could be used for public improvements. This would also serve to train workers in various skills that could be drawn on by the private sector.
3. The income from the employee assurance program would increase demand, spur investment, and increase growth in the local, national, and regional economies.
4. The guaranteed wage serves as a price anchor in achieving full employment with price stability, a major objective of MMT.
The new "Marshall Plan" would not be needed to fund the employee assurance program in the MENA countries that are monetarily sovereign, hence, are able to fund themselves with currency issuance. However, the new "Marshall Plan" could provide foreign reserves needed for importing materials needed for projects, as well as enough goods, especially food, to meet increased demand. This would mean that the new "Marshall Plan" would also increase trade with the sponsoring nations, making it a win-win.
Undertaking such an international developmental program would demonstrate that the way forward is through cooperation and coordination in putting resources to work is a sustainable fashion. Failure to do this will result not only in huge forgone opportunity that can never be recaptured, but also it also risks a volatile area of the world spinning out of control with unpredictable consequences.