'Dubai examines this small emirate with admirable even-handedness and good humour... Krane also writes movingly of the conditions of the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers who have built Dubai.' James Drummond, Financial Times 'Packed with detail and colour, Dubai explores the city's remarkable history, bringing it to life and confronting its controversies.' Dr Christopher Davidson, author of 'Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success'
From the Author
Why a book on Dubai?
Jim arrived in Dubai in January 2005, where he found a city erupting onto the earth. Thousands of new residents streamed in each day. The entire city was a construction site, with more than 10 percent of the world's building cranes at work. Neighborhoods spread across the desert like kudzu. In the course of its six-year boom, Dubai swelled from a modest city to a bloated megalopolis the size of Houston - doubling in population and quadrupling in area. Most incredibly, this wild growth was taking place within a short distance of the carnage in Iraq, and was receiving little notice in the West.
Dubai, it turned out, was the antithesis of Baghdad. As fast as Iraq was being destroyed, Dubai was accomplishing the opposite. There are few, if any, places on earth where the span of modernization is so compressed, where extreme capitalist excess is just a generation removed from Third World poverty. Here, men born in palm shacks became billionaires. Shrewd professors, holders of PhDs from American universities, had been raised by illiterate parents.
The fact that such a success story has risen in the Arab world is of great importance, both inside the region and out. With little notice, Dubai's undemocratic capitalism has become the development model for the rest of the Middle East. Like it or not, the Dubai effect has already touched your life.
But all is not well with this brash city-state. Dubai accomplished its feats on the backs of a vast labor force of mistreated men who have never received their due. The city's success has destroyed far more lives than was necessary. And its wild growth upset the demographic balance, leaving the city 95 percent foreign and nearly 80 percent male. Dubai's pampered natives are such a tiny minority that retaining their sovereignty has become a major worry. Meanwhile, prostitution has become a necessity, spawning the tragic industry of human trafficking.
And, in the months since the onset of global recession, Dubai has emerged as the poster child of the previous era's gluttonous excess. Dubai's once soaring real estate values have collapsed further than anywhere on earth, and unemployed expatriates have fled for the exits. Krane's book examines the viability of Dubai's economic model, going forward.
In short, Dubai is a fascinating topic.