A Libertarian's Dream? The City of Dubai

by B.J. Delas Armas on 7/18/2008 09:07:00 AM 0 comments Print this post

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I've heard about Dubai in Michael Jordan's escapades around the world. His place to golf.

Business people seem to like talking about visiting the luxuries and "modernity" of Dubai.

Some people want to retire there.

But its a city of excess. Malls. Sprawl.

As I've learned from Heather Rodgers' Gone Tomorrow, with tons of excess combined with cleanliness comes a lot of hidden truths.

Essentially, a lot of labor gets fucked out.

Mike Davis was interviewed.

Quotes of interest:

The Barksdale, Stanfield organizations essentially ran Baltimore like the ruling families rule Dubai. However, the difference is that those at the top in Dubai were handed what they got.

-"Economics in Dubai have changed dramatically since 9/11 as the U.S. Administration realized that putting all their economic and political investments in Saudi Arabia was potentially dangerous. Also since the 1970's the Gulf countries learned from their bad experience in knowing that basing the economy on vast oil profits only could mean that with quick changes to oil markets their economies could be left with nothing.

Dubai is the product of a long range investment project and Dubai has been particularly skilled perhaps if not brilliant in this regard. However it must be highlighted that this economic plan doesn't ensure jobs for people within the region, as Dubai has utilized a plantation strategy invented by the British and then copied by the U.S., now being implemented in Dubai."

With such an economy that doesn't ensure jobs, what exactly happens to labor?

-"Stefan Christoff: Concerning labor in Dubai in your article extensive article on Dubai, Sinister Paradise, you write that, "Dubai, together with its emirate neighbors, has achieved the state of the art in the disenfranchisement of labor. Trade unions, strikes, and agitators are illegal, and 99% of the private-sector workforce are easily deportable non-citizens. Indeed, the deep thinkers at the American Enterprise and Cato institutes must salivate when they contemplate the system of classes and entitlements in Dubai." So regarding this passage can you provide more details concerning labor conditions in Dubai?

Mike Davis: Now the above outlines the theory behind Dubai.s labor policies, however labor has showed that it is capable of fighting and organizing in Dubai. Labor organizing is driven by desperate labor conditions that many visitors to Dubai don't see or willingly ignore. It is estimated that upwards of one-million foreigner workers are currently in Dubai, living in conditions that multiple human rights organizations have condemned.

Hundreds-of-thousands of foreign workers live in camps, often without air conditioning, who are bused each morning to construction sites at which these workers are doing some of the hardest manual labor in the world with temperatures at times reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Dubai is widely accused of covering up high numbers of workers deaths on these massive construction sites, including the Burj Dubai tower currently under construction.

Despite Dubai's friendly face and openness to western vices, people who travel to Dubai to do independent research on the conditions of workers are often deported from the country. Last year an Indian-American academic researcher who wanted to study the labor conditions for foreign workers in Dubai was detained within twenty-four hours upon arrival then deported."

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