POLICY: Saudi Arabia's Growing Petropower

"Never before in history has a country had to introduce electricity, running water, telephones, telex and color television all at the same time. "

So muses one Saudi Arabian businessman about his country's frenetic pace of development. His comments point to a paradox of swiftly growing importance for the world economy. By many of the standard measures of power, Saudi Arabia should be a weak state. Its population is sparse: only 7.5 million people in a country twice the size of Western Europe. Its army is tiny: a mere 35,000 men. Economically, the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!