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Saudi Arabia and United States Multinationals: A Partnership in Economic Development

Description: This study has been primarily concerned with the pattern of economic development and the role of the multinational corporations (MNC's) in that process in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Two contrasting theoretical frameworks were adopted to assess the pattern of economic development followed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1970 through 1983. The first theoretical perspective is the neoclassical approach to economic development which postulates that the productive resources at the disposal of a country and the institutions developed to guide the prudent use of them are paramount to a balanced development. On the other hand, Hymer's contrasting perspective is based on the Law of Uneven Development. Essentially, Hymer claimed that inequality is built into the growth mechanisms of the present day world capitalist economic system that shapes the international economy through the agency of the multinational corporations. Therefore, any involvement by the MNC's is necessarily hierarchical, and characterized by dominance and dependence as well as wealth and poverty, particularly between the industrial countries of Western Europe and North America and the less developed countries in the Third World societies. Ironically, the Saudi Arabian case shows that Hymer's Law of Uneven Development is questionable. First, instead of the location of a country in the international economic system as the determinant of high standards and even development, the natural endowment translated into surplus capital must be viewed as the key to that process. Second, Saudi Arabian surplus capital was aided by foreign technologies, especially from multinationals based in the United States. In this connection, the MNC's played a positive role through their supplies of skilled manpower and efficient technologies to transform the desert of Saudi Arabia into a world class center of modern infrastructures and industrial complexes. Thus, the intervention of the multinationals in Saudi Arabian economic development has led ...
Date: August 1986
Creator: Al-Babtein, Ahmed
Partner: UNT Libraries