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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

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5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

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7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

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I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

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I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

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13. Philosophical

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14. Loving

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16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

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21. Selcouth

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22. Pierian

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23. Esoteric

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I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

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I want to take all of life in.

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I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

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Cover Image Credit: Favim

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To The Generation That Might Not Care, A Green New Deal Is Crucial

Take care of our planet and our future.

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The reality of climate change and method to address the issue has been a source of contention in the United States for far too long. While Republicans trail behind Democrats a great deal in the percentage who believe long-term, irreversible climate change is a real problem, an equally if not more important gap to acknowledge is that between generations.

A universally taught science concept in elementary school is the difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day condition of the atmosphere — rainy, sunny, etc. Climate is the weather of a particular geographic location over a long period of time. The weather in an area may be snowy on a particular January day but might overall have a warm climate (Trump has yet to learn this concept).

The gap between generational support for not only believing in the reality of climate change but if the government should take steps to prevent further harm on our planet is apparent. A few reasons that older generations may not support aggressive climate change policies are that many are not going to see the lasting impact of their harmful actions, may not want to acknowledge that their way of life for a majority of their life was detrimental to the environment, or that they simply do not think it is the government's role to further regulate current practices and lifestyles in the name of the environment (an argument supported by many conservatives).

Data For Progress

The "Green New Deal," proposed earlier this month by Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey is mainly a list of ideas and goals rather than a carefully laid-out plan, though aims to eliminate greenhouse emissions through the creation of millions of jobs in the renewable energy industry, moving toward public ownership (a major source of disagreement among Republicans and Democrats), and much more. This plan is a comprehensive overview of many sources of environmental degradation that our nation has not addressed, despite the majority of the nation believing the climate change is a real issue.

There will undoubtedly be a major shift in the operations of many companies due to aggressive climate change policies, which could have been avoided at a drastic level if our nation had chosen to make climate change prevention a priority. Unfortunately, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures will rise to an irreversible level in 12 years if the United States and other countries that greatly contribute to rising temperatures do not take action. A sense of urgency has been lacking for far too long is crucial.

Written into the recently proposed Green New Deal is a section detailing how it will attempt to remedy the inequality of those most directly impacted by climate change. Vulnerable communities, particularly communities of color, are not seeing an equitable distribution in disaster funding to prevent damage inflicted by the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters that have resulted as an increase in rising global temperatures — Which, regardless of your age, should be a glaring flaw in our current system.

I personally doubt that the entirety of the recently proposed Green New Deal will be enacted, however, I believe that anyone who values the quality of human life, clean air, clean water, food sources, for not just those in the United States, but around the world, should be supportive of a Green New Deal.

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