The Dark Side of Dubai

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Author: Littlesongs
Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 6:42 am
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A few weeks back, Johann Hari wrote a compelling piece about Dubai for the Independent. This soon to be ghost town represents just about everything that is wrong with globalism. It is like a really volatile virus growing in a Petri dish.

If you do not have time to actually read the entire article, I would suggest that you do not have time to respond to it either.

Author: Missing_kskd
Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 1:15 pm
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I'm reading it now. Good link.

To kick off the thread, I've been noticing this "neo-conservative" and "neo-liberal" framing being juxtaposed as of late.

Neo-Conservative ideas are those where we see places like Dubai. In fact, that's what this last election was a referendum ON. Neo-Conservative ideas, starting essentially with Reagan.

Why then, is "neo-liberal" suddenly popping up more and more in articles like this?

Can somebody give me an explanation?

(continuing on with a fine article)

Author: Kennewickman
Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 1:58 pm
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Ya, a neo liberal treatment of the definition of a Neo Con...or whatever !

Looks like these Arabs are gonnah need at least $100/ barrel to make this city work right again.

So , I guess all us Neo-Liberal/Post war-Conservatives would keep cheering for America and Europe to get their act together on Electic cars and or Hydrogen fuel cell technology so we can put this city of glass and sand directly into a landfill and then as a footnote in some History Book, is that the idea ?

If that is what it is...its "Fine with me" !

And I dont know if I am a Neo Liberal or a Neo-Conservative or just a Conservative.

Author: Missing_kskd
Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 7:55 pm
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Wow!

What an interesting read. I've got some stuff to say, and I think there is LOTS to talk about in that piece.

For now, read this. Will take you about half an hour.

Then, let's talk about this.

Author: Chickenjuggler
Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 8:02 pm
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Yeah. I'm at section 5 and will finish tonight - likely.

The images of the slaves reminds me of the scenes in Apocalypto. A very insightful read so far.

Author: Skeptical
Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 11:00 pm
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So what is Tiger Woods doing lending his name to a place like this.

What's going on in Dubai reminds me of a trailer park citizen (I know, I'm stereotyping here, but you get the point) winning the lottery and blowing the proceeds in a short time ending up back in the park, worse off than before.

We did this. Our oil thirst. I'm not saying its our problem to solve, but when we're finally weaned off mid-eastern oil, that whole region is going to implode.

But before that, I think the slave issue will go away on its own. With the world economy in a free fall, they might not even be able to house and feed their own slaves.

Author: Alfredo_t
Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 11:22 pm
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For help on the definition of "neo-liberal," as the term might be used by a British writer, try: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism#United_Kingdom In this usage, the term refers to the liberalizing of trade regulations (in other words, de-regulation). Margaret Thatcher is cited as an example of a politician who promoted neo-liberal trade and economic policies.

After getting through this article, I think I can say emphatically, "sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction!" The examples of hipocrisy, callousness, and deceit in that society are shocking at first and then become as disgusting as the feces and chemical laden waters off the shores of that city. If I were to write a novel about a sickening dystopian society, I don't think that I could have dreamt up some of the remarks that came out of the mouths of people being interviewed in that article:

"Almost everyone has a maid, a nanny, and a driver. And we never pay any taxes. Don't you wish you were Emirati?"

"Everyone who comes here is treated with respect."

"It's the Emiratis at the top, then I'd say the British and other Westerners. Then I suppose it's the Filipinos, because they've got a bit more brains than the Indians. Then at the bottom you've got the Indians and all them lot."

"These Indians throw themselves in front of cars, because then their family has to be given blood money you know, compensation. But the police just blame us. That poor woman."

"I was put with an Australian family four children and Madam made me work from 6am to 1am every day, with no day off. I was exhausted and pleaded for a break, but they just shouted: 'You came here to work, not sleep!'"

"When you go to the toilet, they [your servants] open the door, they turn on the tap the only thing they don't do is take it out for you when you have a piss!

Author: Skeptical
Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 11:31 pm
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The fact that they're now dumping sewage on their own beaches is evidence that the desert is well on its way towards winning that fight against the Dubians.

Alfredo, a writer would get laughed out of Powell's for coming up with a novel based on the facts in that article.

Author: Alfredo_t
Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 11:32 pm
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One of the really striking pieces of irony is that if your debts go out of control while living in Dubai, you lose your rights, and you are not allowed to leave the country. Yet, Dubai itself has a debt of 107% of is gross domestic product!

I think that the trailer park resident analogy is very fitting for the Shiekh and his cronies. I was disappointed that even the professor who was interviewed for this piece expressed the mistaken sentiments that they (the old-time residents of Dubai) built the city and that foreigners were somehow taking it away from them. People like him aren't the ones building up Dubai, and the reason the city is starting to crumble is that those "expatriate" foreigners aren't bringing in the money fast enough!

Author: Moman74
Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 11:36 pm
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Well, as an American, I have no ground to stand upon in declaring them sinners. We have the stain of slavery upon our hands to this day. In fact, the U.S. adopted Emirati-like labor practices in the building of the behemoth U.S. embassy-fort in Baghdad, Iraq. Largely build on the backs of Sri Lankan labor. The U.S. has done the same despicable things, not in the early to mid 1800s but 2006-2007.... so... yeah...

And yes neo-liberal is what Europeans call neo-conservativism.

Author: Kennewickman
Friday, April 17, 2009 - 7:52 am
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Creditopolis indeed !! A city built entirely on CREDIT. And slavery ! How nice ! I dont think going to Dubai is on MY bucket list !

Learn something everyday, and today I learned something on pdxradio.com.

This reminds me of tales how the ancient Pharoes treated their underclasses in Egypt.

The place is like going to the Sultan's tent in the days of yore, and being alive thriving at the total Pleasure of the Sultan, foreigner or not. The only difference in Dubai is that this 'tent' is made of glass, steel , silk and airconditioners.

This is what happens when you go from a tribal society to something otherwise in a generation or two with plenty of money to fuel the fire.

I am going to send this link to my 83 year old Father, who sits at the feet of Rush Limbaugh daily.

Author: Kennewickman
Friday, April 17, 2009 - 3:42 pm
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I keep reading something in this article that I must have skipped the first time.

Air conditioned pipes installed under the sand at a beach. This to cool the sand so that the Upper classes dont burn their feet while playing in the 135 degree heat ! A project that was discontinued due to the global economic collapse of Oil.

What an engineering nightmare ! Stooopid nightmare !

Oh and the golf course which the author says requires 4 million gallons of water a day or it will burn up and blow away. I find that hard to believe, 4 MILLION GALLONS? That is a helluva lot of water , especially in one day !!

Author: Alfredo_t
Friday, April 17, 2009 - 4:33 pm
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When I read about that artificially cooled beach, I was beside myself thinking, how many megawatts of power would this cooling system have to pump away from the sand? Assuming that each square meter of beach receives about 1 kW of energy from the sun, that will add up quickly. Wouldn't it have been more practical to build visibly transparent domes that reflect infrared over the high-class beach areas, instead?

Nonetheless, the impression that I get of these Dubai engineering "miracles" is that they are undertaken for the bragging rights and, of course, for the tourist dollars that such freakish creations tend to attract. Asking why somebody would want to build an artificially cooled beach or an indoor ski slope is like asking why somebody would want to wind up the world's biggest ball of twine or why somebody would want to put carpeting on a ceiling.

Author: Skeptical
Friday, April 17, 2009 - 4:47 pm
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This is why Dubai is going to come to a screeching halt soon.

But let's not be too harsh on Dubains . . . we've a bunch of stoopid folks in the USA -- just check out Las Vegas and Phoenix AZ -- we're paying a hefty price to our environment just to keep these two excesses livable.

Then there are the water wasters chronicled in WW once a year right here in Portland, OR.

Author: Kennewickman
Friday, April 17, 2009 - 5:06 pm
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Its a matter of excess where ever you find it. And whom ever is doing it or promoting it.

Ya, Vegas seems to be excessive, although I dont really know cause I have never been there, just seen the videos , History channel type bio pics of it. Reno didnt seem so ostentatious when I was there once. What is happening in Dubai goes beyond anything in Nevada or Disneyland. Slaves dont build and maintain those places.

Author: Missing_kskd
Sunday, April 19, 2009 - 11:02 am
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Been thinking about what I read.

When I distill this down to the nubs, I see ends justify the means taken to an extreme level. I also see people feeding their core drives in an uninhibited way. Finally, it's just harsh.

Dubai drug laws are severe, for example. You will go to prison for a long time, do not pass go, do not get out. No tolerance, but for those approved things. (booze and tobacco)

The "don't judge us" comments in the article are disturbing too. The idea that people deserve some deference, because they've accomplished something and value it is chilling to me. They don't care about anything but themselves.

More later I guess. Just thought I would post up the idle thoughts this quiet Sunday.

Gonna go build a fence now.

Author: Skeptical
Sunday, April 19, 2009 - 12:46 pm
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Cool. I built one yesterday to keep the dog out of the garden.

Author: Missing_kskd
Sunday, April 19, 2009 - 2:25 pm
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Ours are for dogs as well!

The line is good, posts properly set, and a coupla sections done!

Author: Skeptical
Sunday, April 19, 2009 - 4:26 pm
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I sort of cheated . . . I used a post hole digger on the back of my Kubota. I bought it last summer and didn't use it till this week. Worth every penny.

Author: Missing_kskd
Sunday, April 19, 2009 - 8:32 pm
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Yep. Been that route, and it's excellent.

Ours is only a 15 post deal. The hand auger tool was sufficient. Only took a coupla hours to get all the holes done.

Author: Alfredo_t
Monday, April 20, 2009 - 9:45 am
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...And no Indian or Bangladeshi guys in blue uniforms were used in the construction of your fences. :-)

Author: Missing_kskd
Monday, April 20, 2009 - 11:20 am
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Yes, but child labor was in effect!!

They got movies and junk food though!


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