Journalist Mike Davis’ piece on Dubai is something I felt the need to share.
Mike Davis’ piece “Fear and Money In Dubai” exposes a part of Dubai that is hardly ever seen behind the tacky and tasteless hotels and amusements. Dubai is trying to present itself as on par with New York, London, and Paris; but unlike the aforementioned three, Dubai is not a free country (it is not entirely economically free as well, because contrary to what a leftist like Davis thinks true champions of the free market believe that the right to collective bargaining is part of the rubric of economic liberty) and wealth in Dubai is based not on any abilities/entrepreneurial skills of the local people, but wealth in Dubai is the simple result of the people there being lucky to be born over gifts from God that they have learned to suck out and sell.
Now, granted, the economy in Dubai has moved for the past several decades from oil-centric to finance and tourism (of course, with all the other gems found in the Gulf: Islamic fundamentalism,
trafficking, smuggling, and prostitution. On the latter, this new reversal is interesting. Usually Gulf Arab Royals go to brothels, they are on a first name basis in the London ones, but now: “Prostitute come to you, sheikster.”).
Nonetheless, what cannot be ignored about the Dubai is the whole “fakeness” of the city. Unlike other major cities, Dubai does not exhibit a natural growth. An ‘Internet City’, ‘Media City’ and one grotesque in-proportional architecture after another (Royal Gulf Arabs are ‘Bedouins with Benjamin’s’. And Dubai is the exemplification of this, look at the things they build right next to another: immodest, loud, obnoxious, and ugly.
In footnote 5, Davis cites a Dubai tourist official who states about the Egyptian pyramids: “They have the pyramids and they do nothing with them. Can you imagine what we’d do with pyramids.” O’ yeah, I know what they’d do with them, and we’ll all know in time since Dubai is actually building their own; I am sure they’d build 50 fast-food chains, hotels, and endless neon signs.)
A recent piece in the Financial Times notes the instability of the Dubai market. Noting that the economic boom in Dubai is underpinned by real estate and loans, the recent credit crunch could both dry up the loans available for Dubai for expansion and also limit the credit available for prospect property buyers.
With less money to build their shiny new Native American themed hotels (or whatever it is their planning) and less credit available for ex-pats to buy second homes, Dubai could be poised for a decline in stature. Davis writes that Dubai is ultimately and admittedly a brand, and so far it has advertised itself as the city that knows no slow-down (as al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, preaches), but the brand might be headed for a reconsideration by foreign investors.
Author’s Notes: My criticisms of Gulf Arab Royals and similar wealthy individual ‘Gulfies’ are just that: criticisms of Gulf Arab Royals and similar wealthy individual ‘Gulfies’. The elite in these countries are notoriously arrogant and condescending to other Arabs for the sole reason that they think that the Gulf is superior to the rest of the region because they are wealthy.
As if their wealth was a product of anything but oil, it is not something to be impressed by for these people did not create wealthy by producing anything that did not flow from the ground up. Read my criticism of Gulf Arab wealth and the subsequent arrogant attitude.