The sudden opulence is an indication neither of considerably improved performance in the Arab economies nor of long-term assured well-being, nor yet of a uniform good fortune. For the opulence is still associated with underdevelopment; the massive financial resources are the result of the export of a depleting resource; and the good fortune is still largely restricted to the oil-producing and oil-exporting countries whose populations constitute only about a quarter of the total population of the region, in addition to the fact that within each country there are excessive disparities in income and wealth among individuals. (The regional inequality of income distribution can be readily seen from a few indicators. Thus, GNP per capita for 1974, according to this writer's calculations, is about $893, whereas it stands at $2,500 for the oil-exporting countries but $286 for the other countries, including Egypt.)

These serious qualifications notwithstanding, it can be said that the oil revenues are in large part beginning to be put to proper use. They are being translated into development inside the oil economies through the acceleration of capital formation, education, technological transformation and institutional change - a process which will pro du ce favourable results in a few years' time_ Even the sizeable imports of arms and military equipment can· be justified by necessity, as the Arab-Israeli conflict continues and the Arab countries feel that they have to protect their development gains and achievements against Israel's military might and its territorial incursions, and to liberate the territories already occupied. Furthermore, the unevenness in fortune among the oil and non-oil countries is corrected to a certain modest extent through the aid being extended from the first to the second group of countries_ And, although vast internal inequalities of wealth and income continue to ex ist, and have certainly grown in the post-war period, economic and social development is expected to raise the floor of income and wealth and to increase and widen economic opportunities for the poorer groups.