What is the image of the wealthy elite of the Gulf internationally? What positive role do they play in bringing change to their communities and in the development of their countries?
The fact is that their image is poor in the Arab as well as Western media, going by some reports about them.
The World Wealth Report 2014 says that people in the Gulf countries are the most prosperous in the world, but some of the well-to-do individuals in these countries spend their money extravagantly on luxury items.
The report contained stories about some well-heeled individuals in the Gulf and said that some of them pay huge amounts of money just to have dinner with a Hollywood star or other celebrities.
This is nothing new, and was happening in the past as well, with one rich man paying millions of dollars in the 1980s to invite some Hollywood stars.
There is another story, about another wealthy man from the Gulf, who spent £6m buying gifts at Harrods, one of the preferred stores for Arabs and other rich foreigners.
The report also mentioned how one rich man bought a goat of an uncommon species for 13 million riyals. Another affluent man bought a bathtub made of a rare kind of stone for $6m.
A third man bought a garment that belonged to a famous tennis player for $30,000. The last story in the report is about a wealthy Arab who paid $50,000 for an iPad glossed with gold and adorned with precious stones and platinum.
On the other hand, there was news about Bill Gates visiting some GCC countries. Gates was for several years the richest man in the world.
During his visit, Gates renewed his call for the rich to devote half of their wealth to philanthropy. He lauded business magnate Warren Buffet, 79, for supporting charity works and giving half of his wealth, which is estimated at $47bn, to charity.
Gates’ message, however, does not seem to have reached the ears of the wealthy in the Gulf. Perhaps these people have not made enough effort to earn their riches, unlike their Western peers, thanks to the oil revenues that are controlled and distributed by the Gulf states.