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Dubai the dream of modernity « Previous | |Next »
November 30, 2009

Dubai World, the Dubai government's investment arm, asked investors for some extra time to make its debt payments. Dubai World is shouldering almost $60bn (£36.5bn) in debt, and is now seeking a six-month moratorium on repayments sent shockwaves through world markets.

The carefully crafted image of brash, glitzy modernity -- the dream of Dubai as modernity's Arab city of global significance, like pre-modern Córdoba and Baghdad. It is marked as model of a global city in a backward Arab region which has miserably failed to overcome its conflicts or meet the aspirations of its young population.


This dream has dissolved. There is now an alarming disconnect between the bubble of the Dubai city-state, the most populous city in the United Arab Emerite and the real world.

Is it just another commercial real estate bust? No big deal really. Property prices in the emirate had fallen 50% from their peak and follies including a set of man-made islands in the shape of the world map in an era of rising sea levels, have been left half-built. Similar to, or not not that different from many Australian property groups that have assembled huge asset portfolios based on borrowed funds?

Or does it sound like sovereign debt: is the emirate bust, as surely as modern-day Iceland, or Argentina in the 1990s, or Germany in the 1920s? Does the Dubai situation signifies that although the major central banks around the world have stabilized the financial system, they can’t make all the excesses simply disappear. For though the recovery is proceeding significant pitfalls lie ahead.The financial system is still unstable.

Abu Dhabi is putting the pressure on Dubai to become more conservative as it helps bail Dubai out of its debt. Why would anyone to vacation in Dubai?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:28 AM | | Comments (1)


It seems to be the international system that's crook.
The world has to fit in with the dysfunctional rub of nation state imperatives mediated thru capitalist imperatives. This in a set up where the dominant handful of ststes dictate to the rest-these operate as gate keepers for capitalist formations like the ones that induced the oil wars and the global $30 trillion economic bail out to be payed for by that portion of humanity least able to pay. At local level the local ruling classes likewise dictate to the majority of the population rather than representing it as an educated part of it.
The Arab oil states are largely totalitarian banana republics run by meat puppets installed from the west.
They are not out to use local resources for the benefit of locals and this creates dissatisfaction amongst the hungry masses. Although, it should be said, Dubai is at least in part an attempt to plan for a post oil future.
But ideas exist for a better future for all not just for the upper 5%, that the system will not countenance.
And it has an answer for dissent, in its promoting of conservative right wing fundamentalism as a solution, which draws public attention away from gaining a full understanding for citizen's, of their given countries and the world's real problems.
Conservative fundamentalism is based on real objections to the real world as currently constituted. But it guarantees perceptions that ensure forms of resistance that, tho inconvenient and untidy, as with 11/9, do not actually threaten the system itself.
In fact, there's as tidy a quid to made selling weaponary to both sides when civil war breaks out, as bridges to nowhere infrastructure during quieter times.