Algeria: Poverty & Playthings

The sweet taste of independence has turned bitter for many an Algerian.

Eighteen months after the former French colony won freedom, 2,000,000 of its citizens, or fully two-thirds of the labor force, are unemployed. The mass flight of French capitalists and technicians, plus Strongman Ahmed ben Bella's "socialist" confiscations, have shuttered or snarled factories across the land. Outright starvation has been averted in many areas only by government handouts of U.S. gift wheat. Last week discontent boiled up in Oran—in Ben Bella's own home region.

The blowup occurred after the government suddenly shut down a make-work project—the clearing of refuse from...

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