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Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Power Of Being Productive & Future Looking

I listened to Gen.Powell speak in a private meet few days back - he said amongst other things that barring Iraq, around the world, things are beginning to look manageable and promising and hoped that with the impending change in the US administration, even the situation in Iraq could change. On my travel back to Singapore read this thought provoking article about the futility in dealing with the Middle East. I quote:

We devote far too much attention to the middle east, a mostly stagnant region where almost nothing is created in science or the arts—excluding Israel, per capita patent production of countries in the middle east is one fifth that of sub-Saharan Africa. The people of the middle east (only about five per cent of the world's population) are remarkably unproductive, with a high proportion not in the labour force at all. Not many of us would care to work if we were citizens of Abu Dhabi, with lots of oil money for very few citizens. But Saudi Arabia's 27m inhabitants also live largely off the oil revenues that trickle down to them, leaving most of the work to foreign technicians and labourers: even with high oil prices, Saudi Arabia's annual per capita income, at $14,000, is only about half that of oil-free Israel.
And global dependence on middle eastern oil is declining: today the region produces under 30 per cent of the world's crude oil, compared to almost 40 per cent in 1974-75. In 2005 17 per cent of American oil imports came from the Gulf, compared to 28 per cent in 1975, and President Bush used his 2006 state of the union address to announce his intention of cutting US oil imports from the middle east by three quarters by 2025.

The only city that is making some forward looking moves apppears to be Dubai - see the video about the construction activities in Dubai. Unless compelled by immediate danger, the world says, Edward Luttwak should therefore focus on the old and new lands of creation in Europe and America, in India and east Asia—places where hard-working populations are looking ahead instead of dreaming of the past.

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