Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

27 November 2009

Is towering Dubai about to topple?

Like the biblical towers, the skyscrapers of Dubai were built with their tops in the heavens and the motivation was ego and greed.

"However, the Tower of Babel was not built for the worship and praise of God, but was instead dedicated to the glory of man, to "make a name" for the builders." Source Wikipedia

So as I read the headlines this week, I begin to wonder when western civilisation will collapse. All civilisations collapse sooner or later, but in the past two years we have had several scares eg the oil price spike, the collapse of investment banks, the 2008 economic crisis and crash, mortgage madness and bankrupting of entire nations eg Iceland ... and now this week it's Dubai teetering on collapse.

Now I'm not a betting woman, but this one has me interested. The what-if scenarios are mind-boggling. First of all, the markets shuddered and shook this week when the emirate asked creditors of state-owned Dubai World and Nakheel to agree to freeze or pause their billions of dollars of debt.

"Dubai World had $59-billion of liabilities as of August, a large proportion of Dubai's total debt of $80-billion. Nakheel was the builder of three palm shaped islands off Dubai." M&G online

Apparently the banks are worried and international construction firms are waiting with bated breath concerned that "money due from Dubai's grandiose construction projects, including the world's tallest building, would not be paid".

I for one will not be sorry to see an end to the madness that is modern Dubai. Building synthetic islands shaped like palm fronds and encouraging synthetic people to shop themselves to death is not exactly the way forward for humanity. It is depraved. There is a huge amount of oil, energy and other resources required to keep Dubai going. It is crazy creations like this that are sucking the planet dry.

So, will Dubai collapse or not? Only time will tell, but the next couple of weeks will be interesting.

I never thought I would become interested in economics, but in recent years I have become rivetted. Bloomberg reports that Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank may be owed $1.9 billion by Dubai World, making it the largest creditor outside the emirate to the state company seeking to reschedule debt.

Here in SA, Murray and Roberts is pretending to be in control by stating confidently that it will be paid for its work on Dubai airport. Me, I'm not so sure, but hey for the sake of South African employees of M&R, I sure hope so.

I don't want people to lose their jobs. But I really do want us to build a different world to the one we are so feverishly pursuing right now.

The article below paints a wonderful picture of what a job means to some people whose sweat and tears are building the monstrosities that are Dubai, Oman and other middle eastern "delights".


There was a wonderful first person account on Culture Change last week, about life in Oman, one of the neighbouring countries of the United Arab Emirates. I am sure the picture painted in this article is very similar to life for the poverty-stricken construction workers of Dubai.

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