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Friday, 16 December 2016

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

Kuwait has 1.3m citizens, and it also lies over the sixth largest proven oil reserves in the world. That makes it wealthy.

Glittering Kuwait ....

It therefore gives (or bribes) those 1.3m citizens with lavish state benefits, such as interest-free housing loans, free education and healthcare, and food and fuel subsidies, and unemployment benefits .... this keeps them happy in this recently (post Iraqi invasion) constitutional emirate. It has a semi-democratic political system which is divided between an elected parliament and appointed government.

However this paradise on earth has a few issues (including the oil price), one of which is the simple fact that in order to run this state welfare system, requires a 2.9 million-strong foreign workforce.

What this tells you about the laziness that un-worked for wealth gives you, is volumes.

The foreign nationals keeping the whole thing running actually outnumber the nationals, by more than 2 to 1 .... this actually means that while the citizens appear to have the upper hand (especially as they don't let foreign workers apply for citizenship, no matter how long they live there, nor if they have children there .... they are perhaps not as stupid as we are), its more of a deception than reality.

Hunting Runaway Workers Encouraged In Kuwait ...

They even have a website that encourages tracking down runaway domestic workers .... the Instagram account called Mn7asha (loosely translated as “Runaways”), is to upload pictures and IDs of domestic workers who had run away, so others can hunt them down and report them. Whilst small, the web account is reflective of the xenophobic narratives that linger within Kuwaiti society towards domestic workers, and expats in general.

The whole system is literally built on shifting sands .... When the money runs out, the foreigners leave, and the country will likely collapse, as its citizens are not skilled, are as corrupt as the other Arab states, and more importantly not used to hard work.

So whilst it looks like another Gulf region success, in reality all that glitters is not gold

4 comments:

  1. I too despair when I see how these oil states squander their revenue. One thing that they'll always have though is Sun which will be the next sought after commodity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Err, I think you'll find that in that region (and many others), water will be the next most sought after commodity. The sun they get for free, in fact so much so that they have no potable water supplies. Solar powered sea water conversion to drinkable water will be a must but when the oil is gone, paying for this will be problematic for the lazy denizens of the oil world.

      Delete
    2. I meant sought after commodity by the West as oil is now. I've heard of large solar farm projects in Africa to power Europe.

      Delete
    3. Good Luck with that idea ... why would Europe and the West leave themselves as energy hostages to North African and Middle Eastern politics after the oil runs out? Solar energy will be easy enough to harness in vast amounts in Spain, Sicily, as well other European regions. That combined with hydro, thermal and yes, nuclear power, would be far preferable than going down that route again.

      The Arabs have wasted their chance to modernise their religion and themselves, and as events have shown, given half a chance they are happy to let the madmen of the Islamic world take them back to the 7th century purity that they apparently so desire.

      Delete

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