Economics 101: Can we develop a more patient outlook in the Arabian Gulf?
Understanding the importance of long-term thinking is a cornerstone to personal and national development.
In a wide range of economic and social domains, it is easy to see how being patient is advantageous: it helps you get better grades; a nicer job; appear more tolerant, and so on.
In the Arabian Gulf countries, despite the high levels of per capita income, there is a sense that people are yet to realise their full potential, with one reason being a relative lack of fiscal patience.
For example, the savings rate in the Gulf countries is very low and this contributes to low levels of private investment. By contrast, the ability of wider Asian region cultures to defer gratification, reflected in their high saving rates, is often cited as a reason for their economic success.
The problem for Gulf policymakers is twofold: is it even possible to manipulate an individual’s patience? And if so, how can one go about it?