[LMB] OT: Saudi Arabia more democratic than Barrayar

Richard Molpus rgmolpus at flash.net
Mon Sep 26 06:15:43 BST 2011

When thinking about Saudi and the other Oil Kingdoms, it's important to remember 
that they have a long, venerable tradition of internal political dialog that 
isn't obvious to outside eyes. The Al Saud Royal Princes hold constant meetings 
in the Desert, at Oasis's, an in the Cities, following established Arab Tribal 

The Saud family respects the traditional methods of generating and accepting 
political consensus - thru face to face meetings with the leaders of the 
numerous tribes and clans that populate the Kingdom. Votes are offered, traded, 
and counted by the Powers the Are meet;I don't know if it's called 
'Camel-Trading' in Arabic political slang, but it should be.

Qatar ,Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates do the same, with private and 
semi-public consultative meetings between the tribal, clan and family leaders, 
who constitute a "House of Representatives" of the Arab citizenry.

[Non-citizens don't get a say in things, except thru their nations  Ambassadors, 
those counties are family owned and operated businesses,  and they never forget 

The USA, Canada, and  other countries that use the 'European' methods of 
political discussion  (Parliaments, Congresses, Diets, and such) do things with 
different pageantry, but the people who matter [usually meaning the people who 
own lots a stuff] get consulted in both systems of Governance.

I expect the same applies to Barrayar; explaining how the Council of Counts and 
Vor System works to a Beta Colony tourist must be a common duty of Tour Guides, 
and an assigned paper for PoliSci students everywhere.

From: "phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu" <phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu>
To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold. 
<lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Sent: Sun, September 25, 2011 11:47:27 PM
Subject: Re: [LMB] OT: Saudi Arabia more democratic than Barrayar

On Sun, Sep 25, 2011 at 07:27:57PM -0700, Tel wrote:

> Well, the 'yield power' is the critical bit, and I don't think that's
> really happened in any meaningful way yet in Saudi Arabia (or
> Barrayar). Serious yielding power via elections would be more like
> 1989 Poland.

Hmm, it's suggested that one thing inhibited democracy in the oil states
is the oil.  Demands for representation are often driven by taxation; if
the state doesn't have to tax, and spreads the windfalls around enough,
activism may go "meh". Barrayar has Komarr's tariffs, economic size
unknown.  Similarity?  OTOH Miles says the Barrayaran tax rate is twice
that of Cetaganda's.

Tax activism could be inhibited if there's a traditional tax amount that
people agree is fair and unchangeable.  Don't know if any real society
has pulled that off for long.  Of course you can have activism on the
other end, demanding or petitioning for spending.  That might be easier
to accomdoate, though.

-xx- Damien X-) 
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