The Underdevelopment of Kuwait
THE STEADY DEVELOPMENT OF KUWAIT throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries from a nomadic settlement at the edge of the desert to a mercantile community at the western edge of the Arab Gulf was examined in Chapter 2 in terms of the transformation of the mode of production from nomadic to mercantilist, and the steady development of productive forces in the mercantile mode. This progress in the transformation and development of Kuwait's mercantile mode of production was accompanied throughout the nineteenth century by the increasing ties of Kuwait with Ottoman Iraq.
The basic autonomy that marked the development of Kuwait as a mercantile center -- the free play of productive and political forces that contributed to the rapid development of Kuwait -- however, was fundamentally curtailed by Britain's penetration of Kuwait at the end of the nineteenth century. This chapter will examine how Kuwait's peripheral relationship with Britain as an object of the Empire's Gulf policy affected the development of Kuwait in the first half of the twentieth century.
The subordination of Kuwait to British Gulf policy that was initiated with Mubarak's coup d'etat in 1896 marked the transformation of political power within Kuwait, and this in turn facilitated the integration of Kuwait into the emerging world capitalist system of production. It is in the period of Mubarak's reign that the process of transformation- integration was essentially completed.