Saturday, November 5, 2016

The illusion of the greatness of the PetroSheikhs

Many people praise the kings / rulers / sheikhs / sultans of the Arab world for the huge and magnificant structures they create [e.g., Burj Khalifa or the Kingdom Tower], the grand ideas they apparently have [discounting the fact that they employ top global consulting, design and construction firms], the large sums of money they spend, the "big thinking" they seem to have. Nonsense. Nothing great about it, if you analyze carefully.

Digging out oil bestowed upon them by nature, and selling it on the international market and earning money in the process doesn't equal intelligence or greatness. It's called luck. Or chance. Or just an accident. Absolutely nothing marvelous about it. It came to them for free. It was/is valuable for the entire world [like gold]. No brain was required. They didn't do anything about it. Anyone fortunate enough to be sitting upon trillions worth of crude oil like folks in the Middle East would automatically start to have "great" ideas to spend his easily-earned fortune. Let's not develop an illusion that these PetroSheikhs have something special in their brains which we don't. Look at South Korea, Japan, Singapore, etc., to understand what real greatness is - generation of immense wealth and prosperity in the face of considerable natural odds and an absence of natural resources.

Update [26-Sep-18]: Watched these two videos last night, showing opulent Saudi weddings. Big SUVs, lots of gold, luxury watches, top-grade accessories, and so on. Might give you an illusion that these folks are awesome. Nonsense. They're simply spending whatever they've won in the geographic lottery.

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