Perspectives on the Middle East.

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Despite the Arabellion, a look at some countries in the Middle East seems to directly contradict the historical assumption that capitalism leads to democracy. Pankaj Mishra in "Bloomberg" provides insight into how this contradiction has materialized itself around the Persian Gulf and speculates about its future.
 
The luxurious new campus of the American University in Sharjah, capital of United Arab Emirates, is only one of many show pieces displaying the “patriarchy-supervised modernization” in this region. Nearby Abu Dhabi will house branches of the Louvre and the Guggenheim museum. Not only petrodollars finance these cultural institutions along with sport stadiums and commercial skyscrapers. In addition, the region has become a financial safe haven for the rich feeling endangered by the Arabian spring, and as Mishra puts it, “the warlords, mafia dons and new plutocrats of Afghanistan”. Under the surface, however, tensions are building. Besides the affluent expatriates from the West there is a vast labor force from Asian countries often living under deplorable conditions. Parts of the local population have been corrupted by an “absurdly generous welfare system that breeds unmotivated and unproductive citizens”. But in the long run over-spending and a decline of resources will make it difficult to maintain a social contract based on buying political acquiescence. The massive demonstrations in some states and increased government control in others may be the first signs of a widening crisis. An expert for the region, Christopher M. Davidson, titled his recent book “After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies”.
 
A survey by Pew Research found that the formula “free markets = free people” has more followers in China and Brazil than in what is regularly regarded as capitalism's home country, the USA. In fact, the equation seems to be a bit more complicated, but autocratic rule has been questioned and regularly abolished nearly everywhere in the world.