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The Impact of Reform and Austerity on the Social Contract of the GCC States

Synopsis:

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries face the possibility of a prolonged recession that the IMF warns could deplete the region of its wealth in 15 years. As Gulf States continue to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the region’s governments are making interventions in their respective economies reeling from the dual crisis of the pandemic and its knock-on effect of slumping demand and price of oil. Questions loom over how they will balance painful spending cuts and continue to preserve the existing current social contract.

The revival in calls for austerity will not only compromise high profile projects and events in the GCC, but has been argued by many experts that it will change dynamics of the social contract between GCC states and their citizens. Discussions on the bargain that has historically redistributed oil wealth from the state to its citizens are likely to be revisited once again, especially after recent announcements for tax hikes, subsidy cuts, and/or decreases in salaries. The London School of Economics’ Middle East Centre and Gulf International Forum assembled this panel to address how austerity measures affect reform and the social contract of the rentier GCC states in light of the current dire economic situation caused by Covid-19.

Featured Speakers: Dr. Courtney Freer (moderator), Dr. Dania Thafer, Dr. Justin Gengler, and Dr. Steffen Hertog.

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