Saturday, October 16, 2010

Patience & Endurance

I've been reviewing the country's latest developments for some time, trying to make sense of all the greed and selflessness that's rampant as far back as the times immediately after Kuwait's liberation in 1991. I've come to a very obvious and sad conclusion; This country won't last another century.

Consider the facts at hand, Kuwait's Oil supply, the country's primary-and only-source of usable income, is estimated to last for another 80-odd years, while the world at large is seriously considering switching to alternative sources of power, such as Solar, Wind and Hydrogen. Heavy investments  and strict controls made by heavy players are already making strides into this avenue of Earth's history, soon to reach a point where fossil fuels will go the way of the steam-powered ships of the 1800's. For a country like Kuwait, this means imminent doom to it's economy and society.

At the same time, Kuwaitis are becoming more and more reliant on Government subsidies and free money schemes, and less on self-sufficiency and sustainability for future generations. Silly, short-sighted schemes like paying women to stay at home, writing off consumer loans and other myopic plans that are designed simply to ensure that those that effect them are voted into office in any upcoming elections!

On the other hand, Kuwait's Grand Development Scheme, while promising on paper, seems to have been designed by people who have little to do with development, and more to do with keeping their masters happy. In fact, it reads more of a farce than a State plan. Just consider the main highlights; Kuwait plans to reduce it's dependence on Oil and yet it's reserved a percentage of it's $104.3 Billion fund to 'upgrade and develop it's Oil and natural gas infrastructure! 

Kuwait doesn't need grandiose 'me too' projects like a funky Metro system, or the Silk City business hub, certainly not more than it needs to revamp it's existing financial hubs in Kuwait City and Salmiya, and enforce stricter traffic rules (and more responsible traffic cops!) While I do agree with what the Ministry of Health is doing in terms of privatizing the management of it's General Hospitals, I find no such encouraging specks of light in any other service-oriented Ministry thus far. Actually, it looks more like every Minister is doing his or her own thing, independently of any coherent plan that binds and uses any joined efforts or shared goals.

In fact, almost nothing in this scheme includes anything to with human development, or HR restructuring, something that less-capable countries like Bahrain has done.

Yes, Bahrain. That small island state some Saudis and Kuwaitis consider to be their own private Playboy Mansion! This tiny country, with all it's problems and deficiencies, has left it's own mark in history as a country determined to rehabilitate and invest into the less-capable element of it's economy, it's Human Capital, a renewable resource of energy that is not only vital, but critical to any state-wide development plan expected to succeed.

While our MP's roam the world theater boasting about how we're the most successful Democracy in the region (true, to some extent, I suppose) other countries focused on how to become the most successful economy in the region instead. Dubai, arguably, can make that boast, and to some extent, so can Abu Dhabi and Qatar, but all that can change if the state's head changes. Kuwait, on the other hand, with it's very successful-and relatively independent-private sector could do wonders under the guidance of a forward-thinking, progressive and Democratically elected government. Unfortunately, our government is neither forward-thinking nor progressive, and is very loosely associated with governing and more with covering up it's own mistakes!

All the while, Kuwaitis are patiently and hopefully waiting for a miracle to happen, for someone to ride into the spotlight and make things happen, and it seems as though this hero is about to make their dreams come true. Unfortunately, this hero has a questionable past and a dark side to his intentions. Those that know better know of his past exploits and underhand dealings, while those that don't cant afford to place their beliefs into anyone else because there is no viable alternative to this dark hero. 

As everyone knows, the money cycles begins with an investment, and an investment begins with a good idea for a business. That good idea can only come out of a sound understanding of needs and wants, something only an educated mind can possess. With that said, education can be considered as the first stepping stone on the road to a bright and prosperous future. "Pessimistic me" believes that this stone has not yet been laid, and eventually, the train ride towards prosperity has already been missed in Kuwait. And I'm not the only one, there are other more aware people who also think so, and some of them are not as moderate, nor as patient as others.

Kuwait has the potential to include, accommodate and bless everyone with it's many gifts , boons and perks, the trouble is that no one can see past the 'KD' sign. Kuwait is sitting atop a vast source of some of the best natural resources ever to come out of the Earth-Human Capital, but in-fighting and bickering over who'se to gulp down the largest piece of the cake is burning up any hope for this resource to be adequately used.

Patience, one might add, is a virtue that not many people possess. Unfortunately, some people have more intolerance towards government uselessness than they do of patience and hope, which could be a recipe for disaster.

Just ask Iraq.

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