One great irony of the youth-led revolt in the Arab world is that the two shining successes, Tunisia and Egypt, were previously stellar examples of neoliberal policy.
Another factor in youth protest in the West, beyond the systemic lack of work, is the question of access to and quality of higher education. Coy writes, “In the most-developed nations, the job market has split between high-paying jobs that many workers aren’t qualified for and low-paying jobs that they can’t live on.” More funding and opportunities for higher education might address the gap, but government policy in Europe and North America points in the opposite direction. Political elites are imposing austerity and neoliberal reforms to make the young, like working people, pay for a crisis they did not cause. The rich get bailouts designed to rescue the value of stocks and bonds, and youth get much higher tuition fees for an education that is declining in quality as budget cuts take a bite.