Friday, January 12, 2007

What's going on in Saudi Arabia?

This morning I had a thought, what's going on in Saudi Arabia? Now I'm not always that random, there was some basis to the question. When Gulf War II started, the press covered the fact that a lot of the education in Saudi Arabia was distinctly anti-American. As a result of our requests, that education was being changed. No new reports about it.

I also remember that there were some terrorist attacks there. Apparently, some people didn't like the fact that the Saudi's were supporting the US.

So I decided to do some research to see what was going on there. Very recently, they approved the first female airline pilot. The new pilot isn't allowed to drive a car (no Saudi women is allowed to drive), but she can fly a plane.

I also read that, without oil, Saudi Arabia has a HUGE trade deficit. It started me thining. If we ever get off our dependence on oil, what will that do to the mid-east? Surely it will cause a lot of folks to go hungry. There aren't a lot of jobs over there. And I'm sure the US will get the blame.

So how does one go about creating real wealth? Basically it comes from producing more than you need. If I was a farmer, I'd have to grow enough crops for me and my family and then have some to sell to the guy down the street. He could make shoes and clothes for me in exchange for food. If I grew enough crops, I could meet all of my needs this way. Then I could grow more and trade some for some "extras" in the next city.

So how does this happen in Saudi Arabia? If there were no oil, or if oil weren't a necessity, how rich would Saudi be? I think not very.

So, what does that say for the next 40-50 years? As the Muslim population grows, what will they do? What kinds of jobs? The Shah of Iran tried to "Westernize" the country and it was his goal to irrigate the desert. He wanted Iran to be less dependent on the rest of the world. Where is that voice today?

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