Some Yemen numbers

I got these from the latest copy of the Yemen Times, I have no idea how accurate they are.

Average income $400 a year
30 something percent unemployment
40% live below the poverty line, I have no idea how they calculate that.

Bottom line, this economy is terrible, and it shows. One of the big problems is that the government does not allow foreign capital investment except for case by case exceptions. For example, I am unable to buy property here, for any purpose. That would really make it difficult to start a business, or make me want to move here (ha!). If you ask the locals what is wrong with the country, a common answer is that Yemeni’s are just lazy. There’s certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence of that, but I wonder what causes it? I do think that this place has a screwed up enough economy that you can’t point to just one thing. Corruption, restrictive trade laws, and government interference in starting businesses are all here, but when you mix them, you get an economy like Yemen’s! I wonder how long this will go on before something really big happens politically, good, bad, or status quo. There are still remnants of a socialist party here. Until 1994, Yemen was divided between the socialist south Yemen and the more capitalistic north. They unified in 1994, but nothing ha gotten better.


2 replies on “Some Yemen numbers”

According to Rick, Islamic law forbids loaning money for interest, which they define as usury. It is very difficult to come up with the money to start a business without a loan. While I think the US has gone to the point of ridiculous, as far as owing money is concerned, there is a place for reasonable debt.

There are ways around this. It’s true that usury is forbidden in Islam, but there is no prohibition against buying low and selling high. I think that the banks are investing in actual assets like stocks, commodities, real estate, etc. and realizing the profits from buying and selling them. Customers can buy “shares” of these investment vehicles and get the profit when they cash out. It isn’t as “safe” an investment, but it follows sharia law (at least according to most people). I’m probably wrong about the details, but the general concept is what is used.

As far as the US debt is concerned, there has been some interesting talk going on about that. Sen. Clinton recently wrote a letter to the secretary of the treasury outlining her “concerns” about foreign governments holding so much of our debt. She’s afraid that they could somehow leverage this into making us do something. We’ll ignore the obvious relationship between borrower and lender and who bears the risk in the deal (hint, it ain’t us) and concentrate on the hypocrisy. If she’s so damn worried about foreigners holding our debt, STOP SPENDING MORE THAN YOU TAKE IN! No debt spending, no foreign governments holding it…


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