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9722499 (Political and Economic History)

9722499 (Political and Economic History) - Political and...

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Political and Economic History 1 Running head: Literature Review for Political and Economic History for Kuwait, Literature Review for Political and Economic History for Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia [Author’s Name] [Institution’s Name]
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Political and Economic History 2 Literature Review for Political and Economic History for Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia Kuwait Kuwait is one of the richest nations on earth, engaged in a massive experiment in social welfare and democracy, maintaining on one level its traditional Arab character--stoic, proud, fatalist--while on the other it balances a modern economy, generated by a gush of oil of almost unimaginable abundance. Comparison between the economics of pre- and post-oil Kuwait is meaningless. The two periods are of totally different dimensions. Nevertheless, it is interesting to look briefly at the commercial scene as it was in the days when pearls and animal skins represented the country's primary direct sources of income; when, in demonstration of Kuwait's instinctive sense of commerce, the harbour bristled with dhows whose capacities were measured in terms of the date packages they could accommodate, and which plied the oceans filled mainly with cargoes of re-exported products such as sugar and spices. Colonel J. C. More, in his 1926 trade return to the Indian government, provided a statistical summary. The capital, he said, had a population of some 50,000 souls. About 10,000 of these were Persians, 4,000 Negroes, a few Jews, and two or three Chaldean Christians from Iraq. The rest were Arabs. Outside the city only Arabs, mostly nomads, were to be found. The population of Jahra he estimated to be 500. The exchange rate at that time was Rs15 to one pound sterling. A new road had been constructed between Kuwait and Zubair and the 150-mile journey along its entire length cost the equivalent of 55p. by car (with seat), 49p. by van. Imports, mostly from India, Iraq and the Gulf coast, were shown for three annual periods: 1923-4 (£625,064), 1924-5 (£495,972), 1925-6 (£448,014). Rice and coffee were by far the largest items. Exports, mostly delivered to Persian ports, for the same periods amounted to: 1923-4
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Political and Economic History 3 (£276,541), 1924-5 (£546,651), 1925-6 (£246,746). Hides, pearls, re-exported sugar and tea, were predominant. The figures are suspect especially with regard to income from pearling but they provide useful trade comparisons. Kuwait in those days was not a rich country, but neither by Middle East standards was it poor. It made the best of meagre natural resources, supported itself through two world wars and the critical period of the Saudi blockade, and boasted a number of wealthy merchant families. Yet it remained an essentially tribal society, without book-keeping or a civil service to record and regulate its finances, its women in purdah, its feet planted firmly in desert tradition. In fact it was not until the mid 1950s, some seven or eight years after the first, oil export, that the economy generated perceptible changes in social and administrative structure. There had been a
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