I have a few thoughts in response to an interesting article in the Arab Times by Amer Al-Hilal. I don’t think it’s generally productive to lament gridlock and hope for progress. Kuwait has major structural problems, but those can be fixed if we can identify them and propose adequate solutions.
At the heart of it, I feel that we are all to blame for the mess we’re in. It’s easy to point fingers at the government and blame it for the way Kuwait has regressed. Yet nobody seems patriotic enough to offer meaningful sacrifices to help pull us away from peril.
In 50 years Kuwait will no longer be able to provide for its citizens. A sane reaction to this reality would be to slowly enact rules that would alter the habits and lifestyle choices of Kuwaiti citizens so that when the time comes we would be able to withstand the shock.
An example that i’ve mentioned before is to slowly raise fuel, electricity and water prices every year. When the time comes, our children will have understood the value of conservation and we would have avoided the cataclysmic shock that is otherwise inevitable.
No politician is brave enough to propose this. I don’t hear ordinary Kuwaitis asking for this. All I hear is more calls for higher salaries and benefits. If all we expect from Kuwait is to provide for us without personal sacrifice, then we will continue to live in moral and intellectual poverty.
There is so much traffic on the roads not only because of bad planning, but because everyone has a car and we drive everywhere all the time. That’s a personal lifestyle choice and nobody is willing to change. There aren’t any trees on pleasant shaded sidewalks because everyone is demanding bigger houses that are getting closer and closer to the street. Nobody accepts that the reason why we have blackouts in summer is because everyone keeps their AC on all the time even when nobody is in their oversized home. I drive a car and I hardly ever turn off my AC. I don’t want to change because i’m living comfortably. I am to blame, too.
If there was a structural reason for me to change, I would gladly do so. If I had to pay 1000KD every year to maintain my energy consumption, I’d be first in line to install solar panels and buy a hybrid. Everyone is just too comfortable to care.