Labor crisis: has the GCC entered the post-liberal stage?

Safwan Dawod
2023 / 5 / 17

Since World War II, neoliberalism has dominated large parts of the world, and led by the United States and its allies: Western Europe, Japan in East Asia, Israel, and Turkey in the Middle East, a sprawling international order centered on security cooperation, economic openness, and the strengthening of international institutions has been built. After the collapse of the Soviet --union--, this system spread to most countries of the world in Africa, Latin America, and Central Asia. And according to Ikenberry, the "loosely rules-based global space" expanded, and the Group of Twenty, which includes Saudi Arabia from the Arab world, took the leadership of the economic world. This context seems idealistic, but the facts suggest that this system has deep problems.
What happened a few weeks ago about China s adoption of reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia foresees profound changes that take place on the unilateral balance, from American domination of the neoliberal world to a new post-liberal stage in which there are multiple international powers. But is there a paradox in the West s tendency towards war in Eastern Europe and China s tendency towards peace in the Middle East? In fact, there is none if we can distinguish between Western neoliberalism as an imperialist political concept that plays a --dir--ect role in the exploitation and management of violence, and neoliberalism as an economic system currently based on the model of "laissez-faire economies." Western countries maintain their policies in addressing violence through soft power, and when necessary, --dir--ect action is used, as is happening now in Ukraine, while China has found the world more ideal for its interests in its stability and growth, especially in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). But these countries suffer from many economic and social problems and do not seem fully prepared for the post-liberal future. Total public debt has nearly quadrupled over the past decade, from about --$--117 billion in 2008 to about --$--576 billion in 2020. According to the World Bank, its share of GDP rose from 10 to 41 percent between 2008 and 2020.
The entry of artificial intelligence (Al) is one of the most important dilemmas facing the GCC, as it is likely to cause a deep crisis in the labor market, a large sector of which constitutes a suitable environment for Al. The outputs of the foreign labor sector and the associated economic cycle are a critical factor in the stability of these countries. The international system is currently moving within a space of organized chaos, where it is now out of the question to argue that there is an internal matter for any country without having an impact on and a relationship with some external cause. The GCC countries are particularly vulnerable to all forms of external influence due to the inclusion in their system of government of the historical structural problems of neoliberalism and because of class bias and the weakening of conditions related to justice and human values in their societies. Thus, artificial intelligence can carry a lot of positives for the GCC economy, but only when specific conditions are met related to the active and effective presence of legislative and representative institutions and a flexible political process based on a democratic approach. This partly explains the tendency of the alliances of the Arab world, including the GCC states, towards China in concert to promote governance strategies that move away from the democratic western model and move closer to the Chinese one, "authoritarian stability."
Post-liberal features can appear in certain domains such as culture, fashion, digital dependencies, etc., but they are not present in political, parliamentary and legislative representative formulas that must be democratic, equality and transparency. Such matters will only come to GCC with artificial intelligence, and this is the next horror that Iran and Saudi Arabia have brought together with China- Artificial intelligence is the biggest future risk for the "authoritarian stability" coalition. The expected changes with Al come in conjunction with a structural crisis in the labor market. Currently, the form of labor is controlled by the free-market system by weakening the working class and trade --union--s and adapting the state apparatus to its advantage. crises of the "Arab Spring" contributed to the push for privatizations and an increasing exit of the labor force from the labor market. The neoliberal policies of the past three decades, by withdrawing their obligations from social welfare, weakening the organizational forms of workers, and providing individual therapeutic cultures in place of forms of organization and collective interaction, have contributed to leaving the labor base exhausted and weak, to be reused under Darwinian conditions and intense competition within some labor sectors in the GCC countries. It is expected that with the "laissez-faire economies" dominance and the increasing role of artificial intelligence, it will lead to a series of deep administrative rulings within the GCC legislative institutions, leading to a change in the concept of work, the loss of the identity of the original Gulf residents, and, for migrant workers, the amendment and complexity of immigration laws. If these policies continue, the GCC countries are likely to turn into a closed region in which the waves of the post-liberal order are shattered.
Finding the right link between investment in AI and equality in the labor market requires a shared and deep political understanding of post-liberal changes. We consider that progress on democratic approach practices and the development of parliamentary representative institutions is a crucial issue to control the negative repercussions that can rise with artificial intelligence applications inside the GCC, where the markets rely heavily on expatriate labor.

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