Edited by Kartik Roy and Jörn Sideras
Chapter 10: WTO and the Dangers of Privatisation: An Analysis of the Saudi Case
10. WTO and the dangers of privatisation: an analysis of the Saudi case* Jean-François Seznec INTRODUCTION Economic structures in the Persian Gulf have evolved as a response to societal needs, not market needs. Attempts to modify, or liberalise, these structures by merely changing the rules of the market, such as is being tried through the WTO negotiations, will fail unless the causes that created these economic patterns are understood and addressed. The economic structure of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is somewhat diﬀerent than those of any other place. This chapter will present in some detail a view of the structural form of the Saudi system as of late 1998, analyse how it has evolved the way it has and review the changes to this structure presently taking place. The evolution of the Saudi economic structure over the past 25 years seem to have reﬂected the need of the leadership, especially that of King Fahad, to solve societal problems through economic structures. In order to maintain stability in the kingdom, while maintaining the absolute control of the state by and for the royal family, Saudi Arabia developed an economic model that fostered a total separation of the royal family from the commoners. This separation which has been fully in place until late 1998 and which, by and large, is still the norm, provided for the complete control of industry, ﬁnance and oil by the commoners, while leaving all matters of internal security, military matters and land to...
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