The late 1980s saw the Saudi economy take a step away from the conventional oil state pattern towards becoming like a Western industrial economy, and the Government hopes that the private sector will develop further. Government's overspending in the period since the Gulf crisis has build up a debt of around US-$ 70 bn or US-$ 80 bn, equivalent to some two thirds of GDP, a worrying ratio.
Nothing is being done to combat corruption, which is not only wasting great amounts of public money but is leading to a discontent that could begin to destabilize the country and enforce fundamentalists critic and influence. At least in the formal sense there has been some innovation in politics, by an appointed consultative assembly, a fairly secular body of quite respected personalities, but with very little power. At the same time the Government took some repressive and some integrative measures to control Islamists, the consultive assembly might be a useful agent, too, in curbing rampant Islamism.
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