Larger, and more violent, anti-government demonstrations are showing up in Algeria, in the last two weeks (since the dictatorship in neighboring Tunisia was overthrown). So far, the violence has led to about ten deaths, and over a thousand wounded. The people want economic, and political, justice, and an end to the “emergency rule” (sort of martial law, with increased police powers) that has been in force for two decades. Like their counterparts throughout the Arab world, the demonstrators want competent government, less corruption and more economic growth. The young want jobs, opportunity and a future, things too many of them don’t have now.
Algeria, and the other North African nations, are all Arab dictatorships, and all worried about the growing, and increasingly organized, popular demonstrations against the ruling groups. It’s basically a revolt of the young (teenage to early 30s) men who suffer high unemployment (often 30 percent or more) and encounter constant reminders that education and talent is no match for political connections when it comes to getting a job.
The dictatorships all operate in the same model. The government is run by a skillful politician who has set up a system whereby those who support the dictatorship get jobs or economic opportunities. In this way, about ten percent can live off the other 90 percent. The problem with this system is that it tends to be try and be hereditary, and that means that after a few generations, natural selection sees to it that the ruling class is less able and the unhappy other 90 percent has more political talent, often enough to overthrow the government.