One change the whole world has noticed recently in Saudi Arabia is the decree allowing Saudi women to drive. But what lies behind it? Lindsey Hillsum, assessing two new books about the country for The New York Review of Books, offers her answer:
MBS [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] knows that if the kingdom is to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil, women must become more productive, so they need to drive and not waste their earnings on a driver. He wanted everyone to understand that women were being allowed to drive not because they had campaigned for it, but because their rulers had issued a decree. The point was clear: civil disobedience will not bring results; changes will come only from submission to a benign monarch who will decide what is best.