Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Is Going To Fail

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Is Going To Fail

The plan the Saudi’s need, but not the one they deserve.
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Whether they like it or not, governments across the world are moving away from the comfortable, nurturing tit of oil and into the unknown. Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest and most profitable oil producing nation, will soon also enter the void.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has decided to spearhead a lavish policy package called Vision 2030 to move the country away from its reliance and transform it into a competitive 21st century economy.

The plan seeks to reduce dependency on oil, raise productivity levels in non-oil sectors, and generate enough revenue to ease the transition. To do this, Vision 2030 expects to transition Saudi Aramco into the private sector, boost investment into non-oil sectors, and manage to quit eating so rapidly into its foreign reserves.

Three major issues stand in his way and undoubtedly seem to lead Saudi finances into the red.

The first and most obvious concern that the government has is how it will transition and finance its way out of the intricate oil machine it has created. Three things must immediately occur: the government should cut overproduction and allow the natural market price of oil to emerge, the government should give up its strategic attempts to control market share in Asia, and the government should quickly begin the process of establishing a private oil sector.

Now while the Saudi Oil Minister was relieved of his duties last week and rumors of an IPO float at around 5% of Saudi Aramco, nowhere near enough is being done to quickly salvage the country’s self-defeating scheme.

The IMF warned the Saudi government in 2015 that their current deficit spending rate would deplete the country’s foreign reserves (the money it uses for imports) in 5 years. Therefore, it needs to invest in its non-oil sectors to finance the loss in revenue from oil.

The problem with non-oil sectors of the Saudi Arabian economy are that they barely even exist. Only 29% of revenue comes from non-oil sectors, which leaves the country at the bottom of the mountain when it comes to finding a way to generate money quickly without biting into more oil.

Part of the solution contemplated for Vision 2030 is to invest large swaths of money into an emerging sector: religious tourism. Home to some of the most important Islamic cities, Mecca and Medina currently are host to nearly 12 million pilgrims each year. The government has begun development and infrastructure projects to build luxury hotels in Mecca, superhighways, and advanced experience packages for pilgrims not willing to bear the grind of the regular experience- specifically those devout followers blessed with ways and means. However, most of these developments clash with Saudi ideology deeply ingrained in values of Wahhabism.

Therefore, the most important obstacle to Vision 2030 is Saudi culture itself in every aspect of possible implication.

From birth, most Saudi nationals are cradled and reared by the government spoon. Motivation for higher productivity is not immediately apparent and most directly has to do with the lack of proper job training and education that the work force receives. Highly restrictive religious practices also leave out women from the work force and doom nearly half of the population to a domestic life.

These remaining obstacles seem minute and easy to fix, but for people who have created a culture of reliance, this will be the most difficult challenge the government tackles. Religious conformity will have to take place if the country hopes to find any way out of the hole it has dug itself into.

In short, the Saudi Arabian government is left with a distinct opportunity to start over. Rebuilding an entire country will take faith from the people, a tight control over the remaining financial measures it still has to use, and a great deal of vision to make sure it is executed in a way that works well for Saudi pockets.

Yet, Vision 2030 is symbolic of the grandiose nature of Saudi Arabia; hugely impressive but nevertheless built on sand.

The Saudi Arabian government still has to find money and attention to pay for its security concerns on both borders, all of which come at the expense of its allies, while also finding a way to increase its regional power over competing Iranian interests.

Whether it will sink its partners with them or emerge gloriously as a new power is only something time can tell.

Cover Image Credit: Travel and Adventures

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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