Bye-Bye Dubai, Dubai Bye-Bye….

You have to know the melody and lyrics of the Four Seasons song to like that title.  And even then you might not.  Anyway…..

You’ve read about high-flyin’ Dubai on teh internets, and you’ve seen the astonishing photos of the automobiles, private residences, desert indoor ice skating rink, scores of construction cranes dotting the landscape, ad nauseum.  Ooops!  Seems as though times have toughened.

With Dubai’s economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars sit abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners (who could in fact be imprisoned if they failed to pay their bills). Some are said to have maxed-out credit cards inside and notes of apology taped to the windshield.

A variation on the American transportation solution, this one is called Park’nFlee.  I imagine most of those notes contain more FY’s than IOU’s, let alone regrets.  Meanwhile, put that airport lot — say, I bet parking’s at a premium these days — in Miami and overnight it becomes a magnet for car thieves, parts scavengers, and guys running for office.

The government says the real number is much lower. But the stories contain at least a grain of truth: jobless people here lose their work visas and then must leave the country within a month. That in turn reduces spending, creates housing vacancies and lowers real estate prices, in a downward spiral that has left parts of Dubai – once hailed as the economic superpower of the Middle East – looking like a ghost town.

Hmm.  Guess the British-style debtors prison model isn’t much of a deterrent.  Or economic stimulus.  Another proud capitalist tradition down the drain.  Maybe they should arrange transport to Australia.

No one knows how bad things have become, though it is clear that tens of thousands have left, real estate prices have crashed and scores of Dubai’s major construction projects have been suspended or canceled. But with the government unwilling to provide data, rumors are bound to flourish, damaging confidence and further undermining the economy.

Yes.  Confidence has been….sheik-en.

Instead of moving toward greater transparency, the emirates seem to be moving in the other direction. A new draft media law would make it a crime to damage the country’s reputation or economy, punishable by fines of up to 1 million dirhams (about $272,000). Some say it is already having a chilling effect on reporting about the crisis.

An entirely predictable reaction on the part of authoritarian regimes is to clam up, impose secrecy on its activities and plans, and deny anything is wrong or even different.  The dearly departed Monkey Boy administration were practitioners, using homeland security as its utilitarian pretense.  The media rolled right over here, too.

02recon6503But America today has no high moral ground from which to tut-tut Dubai leaders who spent like Wall Street zillionaires refurbishing their office suites and trash cans, gaily bribing their estranged spouses while diddling siliconed goldiggers.  Nor is there need to fear that the current administration will helicopter over billions of shrink-wrapped dollars on pallets to buy them off — unlike corrupt Iraq officials, the Dubai guys aren’t our enemies.

Just sit back and watch their system crumble to dust while you debate the merits of this country’s stimulus bill.

News source: NY Times

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9 Responses to Bye-Bye Dubai, Dubai Bye-Bye….

  1. Ms Calabaza says:

    Interesting story. I had no idea Dubai was in trouble.

  2. Piles says:

    Ms. Calabaza: Is that because you don’t read the mainstream media?

    Dubai’s story has received a lot of attention over the years, not even counting all those sensational internet pictorials. Wall Street was calling it “the next Japan” over a year ago, warning that its spending spree would bite it in the butt if the price of oil declined, and no social safety net or back-up financial plan was in place. Which they’re not.

    It’s one of many, I’m afraid. I wonder how good business is at that indoor desert ice skating rink.l

  3. Mark Skid says:

    Isn’t this the country that George Dubai Bush wanted to hand over US port security to?

  4. Lazlo Toth says:

    Always nice to see misery somewhere else, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing.

  5. Living Will says:

    Pardon me if I can’t get too choked up over this. In fact, the thought of people permanently parking their BMWs at the airport and leaving forever makes me laugh. I wish I could do that.

    You should be shot for “sheik-en.”

  6. Manual Override says:

    I don’t think this is a failure of capitalism per se, as you’re implying. There will be ups and downs in a free market system. Right now they’re all down, some downer than others.

    It is surprising they have a debtors prison. Do they have stocks and pillories, too? Or a ducking stool?

  7. Ba-da-Boom says:

    “Nor is there need to fear that the current administration will helicopter over billions of shrink-wrapped dollars on pallets to buy them off — unlike corrupt Iraq officials, the Dubai guys aren’t our enemies.”

    Whatever happened to that cash, anyway?

  8. Fly Guy says:

    Dubai Dubai Dooooooo….

    Hey y’know if I was a Dubai-oid, I’d wave them all good riddance. Carpetbaggers, every one, foreign workers with no interest in being there other than the big paycheck. Not exactly the building blocks of a society, are they? Let ’em all go and leave whatever job remain for the people who live there.

    That would work okay here, too.

  9. Borkon says:

    Park’n’Flee is pretty funny.

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