Representatives of Tunisian farmers’ unions have insisted on agriculture’s currently vital and potentially stabilizing role for the economy. Filled with data and trend analyses, a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations contradicts this observation, identifying the “relatively low” and even “falling” importance of agriculture in the national economy while pointing out that it has nonetheless buffered the blow of economic crisis and may represent a “missing link” in fighting high youth unemployment.
“Economic Freedom” …and Tunisia’s Nouveaux Poor
From a socio-political perspective, an index that measures “economic freedom” is at first glance misleading. Certainly a significant factor in the discrepancy between The Heritage Foundation’s perspective on poverty and prosperity and the economic, social, and political realities that ordinary citizens face are contrasting interpretations and applications of the word “freedom.” Ironically, many Tunisians who experience what they perceive to be a lack of economic freedom recognize institutions that embrace free-market ideals as culpable for or complicit in economic insecurity.