Thursday, February 26, 2009

Was it a mirage in the desert?

Over the last decade, many of us have been fascinated by the development of Dubai, and watched with incredulity how a piece of desert in the Arabian peninsula gave rise to gigantic air-conditioned malls, hotels, ski slops, the highest skyscraper in the world, artificial islands and a semblance of democracy that gave hope that Islam and Western values could coexist. If it seemed too good to be true, it was.

In a new article published by Daniel Pipes in Front Page Magazine, he explains how the development of this emirate owed its success to the economic bubble and speculators in and outside the emirate. Of course, like every economy developing as a result of a bubble, Dubai in 2009 has become the victim of what seems a gigantic Ponzi scheme, with real estate property prices plummeting, thousands of investors fleeing and the inherent conflicts between Islam and modernism once again on a collision course.

This is an interesting case study of the Arab world and the clash of Islam and Western values. Read it!


John said...

As it continues to become a ghost town of skyscrapers, I wouldn't be surprised to see it turn into the Las Vegas of the middle east. Casinos will be their last ditch effort to attract tourists and residents.

Mario M. said...

The problem with Dubai is that they have to walk a fine line with the rules of Islam. The imams would have hard time with chorus girls, gambling, loansharks and related industries that flourish with casinos and are required to atract high rollers. I think that Las Vegas, Macao and Monaco have nothing to fear from Dubai.