Presented by the award-winning author and property-rights activist Hernando de Soto, this public television special presents, for the first time, the basic human and economic events that led to the Arab uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. The program shows that "The Arab Spring" was less a political event than it was about the coming of the industrial revolution to a region where over 90% of the population lives and works outside the rule of law. De Soto shows us that this informal economy is, however, the one common thread that can contribute to the region's growth and stability.

Amid provocative images of the Arab uprisings of 2010 and 2011, de Soto introduces the people and events that recently rocked the Arab world, sparked by the self-immolation of the poor, 26 year old street vendor, Tariq Bouazizi. It was not the $225 lost from his fruit cart, expropriated by the police, that transformed young Bouazizi into a martyr and a symbol of the revolution - it was his similarity to the 180 million informal Arab entrepreneurs; many of them under 30 and computer literate. Over 100 of them followed Bouazizi in acts of self-immolation.
The history of business in the Arab world is highlighted in sequences from Morocco, and the program demonstrates how business is thriving along with Arab culture in the international business city of Istanbul.
Traveling through the region, de Soto summarizes, "Throughout the Middle East the story is the same. As the industrial revolution comes to the Middle East, the true path to stability rests in the region's single common denominator: the informal marketplace. The Arab consensus ahead is about more than emancipating the entrepreneurial spirit; it's about resolving the institutional deficiencies that make most Arabs desperately poor."
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