Iran, stagflation, unemployment
Barkley Rosser at Econospeak raises several economic points to consider in the current political turmoil in Iran, stagflation (inflation over 17.1%) and significant unemployment (16.3%) among the whole population and perhaps double among the young (2006 data suggests the median age at 24/25 years).
…There are various numbers out there, but after digging around it would seem to me that the best estimate on the overall unemployment rate is that it was about 10.4% in December 2004 (http://www.payvand.com/news/04/dec/1102.html), but that by February 2009 it had hit 16.3% (http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-594557005.html).
…the inflation in Iran also appears to have risen as well from 13.5% in 2006 to 17.1% in 2008, prodiving the dread genie of stagflation (http://www.indexmundi.com/iran/inflation_rate(consumer-prices).html) , with some reports suggesting it has soared to over 20% in 2009, all of this with much higher oil prices than in 2005, which should have made things easy for Ahmadinejad economically. It should also be noted that most sources show youth unemployment being anywhere from 50-100% higher than the overall rate, thus quite possibly over 30% now, with that of young women possibly as high as 50%. No wonder that Ahmadinejad has been hurting badly on the economic issue, both with fervent youth now in the streets, as well as with such previous backer as the conservative bazaari merchants and even reportedly with elements of the military and Revolutionary Guards who respected Mousavi’s performance as prime minister during most of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
The real question now, in the face of clear electoral fraud by the regime, is why Khamene’i has switched sides and is backing Ahmadinejad this time over Mousavi, who appears not to have threatened the foundation of the regime before now. Khamene’i has called for there to be no demonstrations today in Iran, with the threat that any might be put down violently. This becomes even more problematic given that the one authority able to replace his is the council headed by former president Rafsanjani, whom he reputedly supported in 2005, but who now supports Mousavi by the best reports. Clearly this is a moment of deep decision in Iran…