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The Kindling of Change

This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any): class="credit">Damon Winter/The New York Times    Go to Columnist Page Ā    class="metaFootnote">A version of this op-ed appeared in print on February 5, 2011, on page A17 of the New York edition.   .

February 5, 2011; New York Times; The Kindling of Change; Charles M Blow.

It is impossible to know exactly which embers spark a revolution, but it’s not so hard to measure the conditions that make a country prime for one.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Charles M. Blow

Go to Columnist Page Ā

Since the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, speculating about whether the fervor will spread and to which countries has become something of a world-watcher’s parlor game.

So I’ve decided to give over much of my space this week to providing more data for that discussion.

As The New York Times headline declared earlier this week, “Jobs and Age Reign As Factors in Mideast Uprisings.” And the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy has used levels of democracy to identify countries at risk around the world.

These are solid measures, but I would add spending on essentials like food (there is nothing like food insecurity to spur agita), income inequality and burgeoning Internet usage (because the Internet has been crucial to the organization of recent uprisings).

Seen through that prism, Tunisia and Egypt look a lot alike, and Algeria, Iran, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen look ominously similar.

Please, explore for yourself.

Œ

I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on February 5, 2011, on page A17 of the New York edition.

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