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financialtimes365 karma

I understand your frustration. One of the most worrying trends in recent years is the extent to which governments in the Middle East have been able to control social media conversations. I have also noticed that no one from the Gulf dares to criticise the Saudi authorities on Twitter. Not long ago, Saudis were telling me that Twitter was their parliament.

Unfortunately I do see Arab coming together to stand up against their leaders. The Arab spring and its aftermath have led to disillusionment as well as fear. Many people look at Syria, Libya, Yemen and conclude that the alternative to current regimes is chaos.

financialtimes169 karma

It is clear that the killing of Khashoggi has taken the shine off MbS and radically changed the image of a reformist leader that he has been nurturing. Those who believed that MbS was the key to a stable Saudi future are now reviewing their analysis. As things stand today, however, I would not expect MbS to be removed from power. He is his father's favourite son and as far as I can see, King Salman is sticking by him. He has also made sure that anyone capable of challenging him in the royal family is stripped of all his powers, or under house arrest, or no longer in Saudi Arabia.

financialtimes144 karma

There are limits to passive and we will see a shift back towards active styles. A lot of the passive boom reflects low returns over the past twenty years, so there has been a big focus on costs. The bigger story for long term investors is that we need to see more younger companies listing and providing investors with an opportunity to hitch a good ride, aka buying Microsoft in 1986 or Amazon in 97.

financialtimes138 karma

That's an interesting question. It's not so much that it has affected my sources but no one I tried to contact in Saudi Arabia was willing to stray from the official line, even though that line was shifting and the involvement of Saudi agents was evident. That suggests to me that people were afraid to even admit that Saudi Arabia was responsible for the murder. More broadly I would say that many activists in the Middle East have been terrified by the brutality of the murder and that Saudi activists in particular interpret it as a warning to all of them.

On the second point, it's difficult to gauge the reaction of Saudis now that their government has admitted to some involvement, though the full story has yet to emerge. Contacts of mine who have been in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, in recent weeks tell me that young people they met, who are supporters of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, were either in denial or still so attached to the social changes he has introduced that they're not willing to criticise him. Others, I'm told, are saying for the first time that they are worried the prince is reckless.

financialtimes132 karma

Substantial and based on my recent time in the US with friends and family, the affordability of healthcare is a massive issue . It is interesting to see the debate over higher marginal tax rates gaining traction.