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Reforming Saudi Arabia

Andrew Marr discusses Saudi Arabia with academic Madawi Al-Rasheed, economist Deirdre McCloskey, historian Ian Morris and former UK ambassador William Patey.

On Start the Week Andrew Marr looks at the fortunes of Saudi Arabia. The academic Madawi Al-Rasheed challenges pre-conceived ideas about divine politics and uncovers the religious leaders, intellectuals and activists who are looking at modernising the country. William Patey is the former UK ambassador in the region and argues that although the House of Saud is resilient, strains are starting to appear. The American economist Deirdre McCloskey sees fault lines elsewhere in the country's failure to promote and encourage innovation; she believes that although Saudi Arabia has capital accumulation and oil, without creativity and ideas it will not flourish. The historian Ian Morris takes the long view as he studies 20,000 years of international relations and argues that each age and region gets the great powers it needs, and what that means for Saudi Arabia.
Producer: Katy Hickman.

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43 minutes

Last on

Mon 7 Dec 2015 21:30

Madawi Al-Rasheed

Madawi Al-Rasheed is Visiting Professor at the Middle East Centre at LSE and Research Fellow at the Open Society Foundation.

Muted Modernists: The Struggle over Divine Politics in Saudi Arabia is published by Hurst.

William Patey

Sir William Patey is a former UK Ambassador to Sudan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

William’s article, ‘Is the House of Saud about to fall?’, is in the current issue of Prospect magazine.

Deirdre McCloskey

Deirdre McCloskey is an economist, historian and rhetorician.

Deirdre will be taking part in a discussion, ‘Waste:  A New Political Age’, at the National Theatre on Wednesday 9 December.

The final book in her trilogy, The Bourgeois Era, will be published in April.

Ian Morris

Ian Morris is the Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor in Classics and Professor in History at Stanford University.

Ian will be delivering a lecture, ‘Each Age Gets the Great Powers It Needs: 20,000 Years of International Relations’, at the LSE on Tuesday 8 December.


Role Contributor
Presenter Andrew Marr
Interviewed Guest Madawi al-Rasheed
Interviewed Guest Deirdre McCloskey
Interviewed Guest Ian Morris
Interviewed Guest William Patey
Producer Katy Hickman


  • Mon 7 Dec 2015 09:00
  • Mon 7 Dec 2015 21:30