Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Vision 2030 Reform in Saudi Arabia: A Risky Reform:

The Vision 2030 Plan (Briefly)

Undoubtedly, this is a massive economic plan for Saudi Arabia. Due to some facts such as: A- economic sector in every country including Saudi Arabia is interconnected and interwoven with other social, cultural and political sectors, B- a simple reform in one sector (E.g. economic sector) will undoubtedly impact other sectors (E.g. social, cultural and political sectors), C- the massive scale of this economic reform, we should undoubtedly expect that this huge economic reform will automatically impact (Domino effect) other social, cultural and political sectors (each to some extent) within Saudi Arabia’s society beyond the will and power of Saudi authority or anyone else. As such, the Vision 2030 reform should be accompanied with some social, cultural and political reforms compatible with economic reform within this plan; otherwise this reform cannot achieve its main goals in an effective and comprehensive manner or in some cases the plan might be counterproductive and create instability within Saudi Arabia.  

As an example, I refer you to the White Revolution reforms performed by King Pahlavi in Iran. The White Revolution was mainly focused on economic terms not social, cultural and political sectors in Iran. As such, the newly economic reform, its consequences and complications were not compatible with previous social, cultural and political sectors in those years in Iran. The result of this contradiction and incompatibility was one of the main reasons of the disaster in 1979, and what we are observing today. This is a historical fact; we cannot perform a reform in one sector successfully within a society (no matter where) without performing compatible reforms in other sectors as well. It is impossible. According to this plan, for example, the Saudi authority would cut the subsidies and would try to increase the taxes. These reforms would change the Saudi’s society in economic term. But these reforms are not pure economic, due to the fact that their implementation would automatically impact the lives of Saudis people in terms of cutting subsidies & increasing taxes. In other words, these two economic reforms would impact social, cultural and political sectors in Saudi Arabia. As such, along with these economic reforms, some political, social and cultural reforms (E.g. education) should be performed; otherwise these two economic reforms would create social, cultural and political instability and uprising in Saudi Arabia whether in short or long term.   

Regardless of some negative points such as cutting the subsidies and privatization, This is a very huge project and in case of implementation, it would automatically impact various social, cultural and political sectors within Saudi Arabia’s society and even beyond. In order to avoid any complication in this matter in the short and long term, it would be wise that Saudi Arabia authority would re-evaluate this project in terms of policy analysis and risk management particularly at this stage that the whole Middle East (including Saudi Arabia itself to some extent) is experiencing various types of social, cultural, religious, ethnic and political instability & conflict. 

M. Sirani                    25.04.2016