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The Quick and Steady Decline of the Dubai Dream

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We here in the US have now found ourselves in the middle of a financial mess and we’ve been really interested in reading pieces like George Packer‘s “The Ponzi State” about foreclosures spreading like a virus throughout Florida (we can’t recommend this essay enough and do so to everyone we’ve been talking to of late). But while that’s all well and good, it’s nearly impossible to stay away from the more juicy doom and gloom of what’s happening in Dubai. What just months ago the epicenter of grand new architectural plans and sure fire money multiplier, just officially came to a mess of a crash at the start of December (we reported on a couple of stories back then) and since then, stories like this incredible piece by Robert F. Worth have been published, showing what an absolute disaster things have become. Foreigners are abandoning their lives there and fleeing, building has all but stopped completely, and those modern marvels of architecture, like the fake island hotel are being described as such:

Lurid rumors spread quickly: the Palm Jumeira, an artificial island that is one of this city’s trademark developments, is said to be sinking, and when you turn the faucets in the hotels built atop it, only cockroaches come out.

While we’re sure some of that is exaggerated, with the actual reportable stories as they are and with the knowledge that Dubai’s excess wasn’t built upon something with some stability like oil revenues or any form of relative financial security, we think you’d be hard pressed to find a better metaphor for why the world is in this economic mess, we’d love to hear it. And what better time than now to search “Dubai” in our archives to see how this situated moved from A to B.

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