In Iraq, we're told they have no work, so,
What did they do before and during Saddam's reign?
Farm, manufacture auto's, build refineries, or what?
Were/are they heavily into the metalworking industry?
So far all I've heard is they make a lot of concrete products,
lacking other building materials.
Really a serious question on my part, and Google doesn't seem too
helpful. Perhaps one of you may have some insight.
For an initial reply I have heard on the BBC that a lot of the native
industry was heavily protected under Saddam but that is now not the
case so the native Iraqi industries are suffering as US, UK and other
industries are from cheaper foreign imports.
If you are on the inside so to speak the government finds you work. If
you are on the outside you are watched and controlled by the government
A good example is people who enforce language laws in Quebec Canada. If
your English business sign is the same size as the French you are in
trouble. Imagine having "language" police.
Talk to people who have immigrated from places like Yugoslavia or
Romania. Half the population spent their days watching the other half and
get paid for it. If you don't screw up you get a job building roads or
palaces. Screw up politically and you starve.
30% of the work force was in agriculture- in between the 80% of a
third-world country and the 5%-ish of a modern developed country.
Average age was quite young, so a lot of people would have been
students. They had an operating stock market prior to the war (not
operational yet, AFAIK). I imagine a fair number of people did small
scale construction, service and repair business, maybe a bit of local
manufacturing, there was a good chunk of government and the rest were
employed in the petroleum industry. They had the usual schools,
universities and a government-run health care system, a fair-sized
military in terms of men, and support for that. Most of these
countries will never compete in manufacturing, they just don't have
the infrastructure. When everything has to be imported and the local
market is insigificant, there are usually better places to invest.
Iraq has, by Middle Eastern standards, a very extensive agriculture.
They are (or were) a significant exporter of grain and grain products.
There is a modest textile industry based on locally produced cotton
and wool. Petroleum is, of course, the number one product, and prior
to the war with Iran, there was a significant petrochemical industry
as well. Iraq is (or used to be) unique among the gulf countries in
capturing natural gas associated with the oil, everywhere else, they
just burn it off. Oil aside, the country is not well supplied with
mineral resources, but does (or did) produce commercially important
quantities of sulfur and sufuric acid. I believe they also had a
modest glass industry. As to other occupations, rail lines connect
the Gulf with Turkey, Syria and thence Europe, as well as Iran, and
there's a very important amount of truck traffic east and west through
Iraq, with support services to match. Basra is a major port with all
the associated industry you would expect. Iraq used to have a
significant fishery as well, but I believe the oil industry has pretty
well sterilized the Gulf and put an end to that long ago.