By Matthew Partridge
This commentary was published in The New Statesman on 07/06/2011
Six months ago a Tunisian street seller started what is now known as the "Arab Spring" by setting himself on fire. However, although the immediate motivation behind his gesture was anger at the confiscation of his market stall, the economic causes of recent events in the Middle East have still received relatively little attention. However, many analysts believe that economic stagnation has been an important driving force behind the demands for political change, and that political and economic reform has to take place simultaneously.
Matthew Partridge is a freelance journalist and a PhD student at the London School of Economics.