Kuwait: Social Change in Historical Perspective

By Jacqueline S. Ismael | Go to book overview

4
The New Integration: The Continuity of Dependency

THE PROCESS OF THE UNDERDEVELOPMENT OF KUWAIT throughout the first half of the twentieth century was examined in Chapter 3 in terms of the transformation of the relations of production from autonomy to dependency and the consequent integration of Kuwait into the emerging world capitalist division of labor. The framework of contradictions established by the transformation-integration process--capital accumulation/expropriation and independence/dependence -- resulted in the limitation on the development of productive forces beyond the scope of Kuwait's integration into the world division of labor as a pearling center. The effective result was the concentration of capital and homogenization of labor in a productive system that by the end of the inter-war period was no longer able to provide subsistence to the majority of the population.

The new integration of Kuwait as a major oil supplier to the industrial nations, however, radically transformed the basis of production and the level of surplus realized. Nevertheless, this integration was established in the framework of the continuity of dependent relations of production. This chapter will examine the continuity of dependency in the capital-surplus society.


THE CHANGING STRUCTURE OF AUTOCRACY

The transition to the new basis of integration in the world division of labor was made within the framework of the continuity of autocracy in Kuwait, but the structure of autocracy has undergone progressive modification. Sheikh Ahmed al-Jabir died in 1950, and was succeeded by his

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