The Looming Bankruptcy Of Saudi Arabia

by Tim Worstall for Forbes

There’s two interesting little stories in this idea that Saudi Arabia is going to go bust in a couple of years as a result of the sagging oil price. Both are more general economic ideas than just the story of that oil price. The first is that mono-anything in economics is something we don’t really like. We certainly don’t like either monopolies or monopsonies, but we should also be very careful of an economy that relies on any one product or even supplier. The perils of resting an entire economy on the production of just the one commodity should be obvious here. But the same could and should be said about reliance upon any one supplier in an economy as well. We want diversity, always, of producers and suppliers. The second is that this is an object lesson in why most economists don’t really believe in the idea of predatory pricing. Sure, it’s possible for a dominant supplier to try to lower prices and drive others out of the marketplace. The idea is that once they’ve bankrupted those others then they can sweep back in, raise prices and thus enjoy monopoly profits having killed the competition.

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