Algeria: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Algeria including the economic system there, St. Augustine.



The great Catholic theologian, St. Augustine, was an Algerian, born in Tagaste (now Souk-Ahras) in 354 A.D. Following his conversion to Christianity in Italy, he returned to Algeria and became Bishop of Hippo (south of present-day Bone), an office he held from 395 A.D. until his death in 430 A.D.

Another great Algerian was the Nobel Prize author Albert Camus. Born in Mondovi (now Drean) in 1913, he was educated at the University of Algiers and lived in his homeland until 1940, when he moved to Paris.

When France took Algiers in 1830, the immediate pretext for the conquest was an incident in which the Algerian ruler, Dey Hussein struck French Consul Deval with his fly whisk during an argument.

Prior to independence, Algeria was regarded as an integral part of metropolitan France. Nearly a million Frenchmen made their homes in Algeria. Five thousand Europeans owned 1/3 of the arable land.

Today, in the official propaganda a great deal of lip service is paid to the principles of socialism. In actuality, the economy is run partly along socialist and partly along capitalist lines. The following groups exist, although there is a marked tendency to play down social distinctions:

Bourgeoisie--They operate the many successful smaller enterprises in the cities. The Government has set no ceiling on how much they can earn but the members of the bourgeoisie are very discreet as to how they spend their wealth. They tend to keep a low profile. They also prefer a vacation abroad to flaunting their money at home.

Bureaucrats--There is a considerable bureaucracy, but the Government has set a limit on the income of officials. They can earn no more than 5 times the pay of a factory worker.

City Workers--Whether employed privately or by the Government, they are protected by an extensive system of social insurance. There has been a significant migration to the cities in the past 40 years, with more people moving than the cities can absorb. The result has been that about 1/3 of the labor force is unemployed.

Peasants--Onetime French holdings have been confiscated by the Government and turned into collectives. The workers are entitled to a percentage of the profits of their farms. The vast majority of farms are privately run; half of them consist of holdings smaller than 12 acres.

Desert nomads--They live pretty much as they always have, although the Government has been attempting to provide permanent settlements for some of them.

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