Read about the recent rebellion in the north African nation here at Time Magazine , here at the Washington Post and here at the Guardian.
Interesting to contrast today's state of affairs with conditions just a couple of years ago.
Here is a map showing Tunisia's location.
What's at issue? Acute problems are unemployment, food prices and by extension, food security. More generally, it's about freedom.
Collier discusses the "conflict trap" in The Bottom Billion and notes that a large part of the economic costs of rebellion and civil war are realized long after the rebellion is over. We'd call this a lag effect, where today's actions have implications for tomorrow's outcomes. Perhaps more important for Tunisia, Collier finds that rebellion most often does not result in improvements in the conditions that ostensibly spawned the rebellion to begin with. Indeed, he notes that civil war can be the start of a long process of "development in reverse". Importantly for the rest of us, he finds that civil wars and rebellions result in adverse spillover effects on the region, often extending into high-income countries. Check out that map again. Also consider that nations in the EU are Tunisia's principal trade partners.
It's important to point out that Collier's work is based on analysis of many countries, and the results do not serve to predict what will happen in a particular situation. Rather, they should be interpreted as what is likely to occur on average. Let's hope Tunisia is an exception.
For more reading, here's a relatively short piece by Collier on economic development and conflict.