Originally Posted by Dalton
Christ. What's going to happen to Dubai when the oil runs out? The buildings are spectacular, but what sort of economic base does Dubai have to warrant this shockingly fast and high level of development? At the first sign of trouble, I see all the speculators bailing, ultimately leaving Dubai with dozens of derelict and crumbling super-talls.
There used to be an racially offensive term that was applied to this sort of ostentatious but economically unsound and superficial display of (temporary) wealth. A sound economy can not be built and sustained solely on real estate speculation and promises of future foreign tourism growth. I saw a show on TV a couple weeks ago detailing the construction of one of the world's largest shopping malls and an indoor ski hill. No explanation was given, though, of why people would want to fly into the Middle East to snow ski.
When Dubai builds the world's largest supercollider, the world's largest aircraft factory or the world's tallest University residence hall, I'll be more willing to change my mind about the sanity of all this construction. Right now I see a country that is institutionalizing an enormous gap between a small, wealthy and primarily foreign idle elite living in tall glass towers and a large class of poor servants, with almost no middle class. In short, a recipe for eventual disaster.
Acutally on TV a few months ago (actually probably a few years ago), before I had even heard of Burj Dubai, Burj Al Alam, and Al Burj, there was a Discovery Channel type episode where they "explained" your above point. They said that UAE is currantly very dependant on oil (I had no idea 5% was dependent hahaha), and needed something to "replace" it because it was running out. It said that by building a super tourism hot spot, they would no longer depend on oil. So all of these major projects, supertalls, resorts, and parks are built for tourism. Therefore, all of the tourism money would replace all of the oil money. That is what I saw on that episode. I thought it was very interesting, and I hope it "answers" your above comment.