Screencap of a Saudi executioner
I’ve been tracking a broad theory of collapse. Namely, states collapse when they can’t pay off whoever is used to getting paid off. Basically, Mubarak and his ilk fell when they couldn’t find employment for a large amount of youth. Gaddafi stays (for now) because he is able to pay off mercenaries and thugs to kill his own people. I mention this because Reuters had a run down on some recent cables detailing the Saudi welfare state. If there has ever been a state that existed based on pay-offs, it is Saudi Arabia. If there’s one that more deserving of collapse I can’t think of it, even though the consequences might be a global recession.
Managed by the Ministry of Finance’s “Office of Decisions and Rules,” which acts like a kind of welfare office for Saudi royalty, the royal stipends in the mid-1990s ran from about $800 a month for “the lowliest member of the most remote branch of the family” to $200,000-$270,000 a month for one of the surviving sons of Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.
Grandchildren received around $27,000 a month, “according to one contact familiar with the stipends” system, the cable says. Great-grandchildren received about $13,000 and great-great- grandchildren $8,000 a month.
“Bonus payments are available for marriage and palace building,” according to the cable, which estimates that the system cost the country, which had an annual budget of $40 billion at the time, some $2 billion a year.
This system all exists to pay-off the progeny of a man who stormed the city of Riyadh with about twenty men, made deals with the British and Americans for land, money and oil, and made a deal with an Islamic cleric to let his people eat hate. Now his son rules over a corrupt kingdom with no penal code, no real rights for women and rampant slavery and abuse among migrant labor. Anyways, an interesting article on the most direct form of state preservation available, literally paying people off.