Back from Dubai

In: Uncategorized

11 Oct 2008

I have not posted for a few days because I’ve been at a conference in Dubai and have also had to follow the market mayhem. I hope to write a piece about recent market developments over the weekend – arguing that share price movements are a poor indicator of economic health – but in the meantime a quick thought on Dubai.

Before visiting the emirate I was struck by how many people – most of whom have never been there – told me it was awful. No doubt there are genuine grounds for criticism. For example, its lack of democracy and its unequal treatment of migrant workers. But what most people seem to dislike is precisely what is good about it: its modernity. The critics seem to hate the fact that it has created gleaming, modern buildings out of what was until recently desert. In other words they are criticising precisely what is the best thing about Dubai. It is akin to an aristocrat, who perhaps is not as affluent as he once was, sneering at what they regard as the vulgarity of the new rich.

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