Friday, November 14, 2008

If Dubai goes down, all go down

The Peninsula, Qatar's online daily, published a highly critical story about Dubai this week, fearing total collapse of the economy:
So enough about the struggling middle class. In this global financial crisis, how are the really rich holding up? To find out, I spent several days in Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates and world capital of conspicuous consumption.

So far, the ultra-rich are bearing up well. If the scene at Dubai’s luxury Burj al Arab hotel is anything to go by, there’s still robust demand for hotel rooms that start at about $1,500 a night and bikinis that cost $800. This level of consumption is impressive, especially when you consider that the super-rich must struggle with a serious unemployment problem—almost none of the designer-clad men and women who grace the Burj al Arab appear to have, uh, jobs. But they cope bravely with this situation, finding in it an opportunity to pay culturally enriching visits to Dubai’s many beaches, nightclubs and shopping malls.

OK, for us normal human beings, it’s hard not to be revolted by Dubai, which boasts the world’s tallest hotel (the aforementioned Burj al Arab, which is shaped like a sailboat and soars in solitary splendor over its own artificial island), one of the world’s largest indoor ski slopes and the largest shopping mall in the region. Crammed with cold-eyed Russian oligarchs, coked-out London pop stars and the spoiled princelings of global finance, Dubai is repulsive enough to make most ordinary mortals start rooting for the collapse of global capitalism.
For more, go HERE.