February 12, 2009
Dubai: Hype does not in fact immunise
Having taken a rather sceptical view of Dubai for a while, and been disgusted with, e.g. the FT allowing itself to print arties re Dubai & Gulf insulated from the global storms, I have taken some sour pleasure in this: Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down as well as the earlier Times arty on the same phenomena. Worth a ponder as to impact, I rather suspect that the Dubai black box shall have to be substantially unwound.
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I like this little tidbit after the end:
A New York Times employee in Dubai contributed reporting.
Negative news about Dubai economy: no names please.
Posted by: matthew hogan at February 12, 2009 06:04 PM
Some of the Times stuff is almost certainly hyperbole and/or wrong. The population statistics look like out of date figures for the UAE, rather than new numbers for Dubai. The idea that 3000 different cars have been left at the airport seems fanciful. Also, sharia prevails in Dubai? Someone needs to do some homework.
On the other hand, the city's biggest paper is in massive denial about the scope of the situation, and is printing the government line about things being good. When in fact they are the worst they have been in many years. Even the government is having trouble paying for projects.
I think it will be interesting to see whether Doha, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi can ride out the storm in relative comfort, and perhaps even use the opportunity to capture business that would once have gone to Dubai.
With all due respect, your nitpicking misses the point entirely. Sharia attitudes and content certainly influence / shape Emirati - Dubai legal framework for debt. In contrast to other MENA countries that have adopted purely Code Civil approaches. Sure, journo shorthand does a disservice, but your blithe nitpick reaction misses the fundamentals, Dubai missed the boat and has a backward legal system in these areas.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 13, 2009 06:04 AM
I lived and worked in Dubai for over a decade in the 90s and have been a regular visitor since. For some strange reason, call it hunch or gut feeling, i could never bring myself to buy into the hype. The pace of development scared me,the total lack of any sort of planning controls and the complete disregard for the environment appalled me. But then, the formula worked, for a while at least. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. The real tragedy is that the authorities, instead of admitting there is a problem and than taking concrete steps to tackle it, are burying their heads in the sand and using the local press (nothing more than government newsletters) to proclaim "crisis, what crisis?" I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who has a long term investment in the place.
Posted by: Arshad Khan at February 14, 2009 05:38 PM
Where are all these FT articles claiming that Dubai is insulated from the global storm? I wish the authorities here believed that. Trust me, they don't think the FT is soft on Dubai!
Posted by: sim at February 15, 2009 01:21 AM
Reposting - first time didn't appear
The comment poster is right, the international press seems determined to over-dramatise the situation in Dubai. Yes it's unpleasant when anyone loses their job and yes Dubai's economy has at least slowed down if not reversed. But to take a police statement that 3000 cars were abandoned in Dubai in 2008 (original information) and turn that into 3000 cars at the airport in the past few weeks is poor journalism. IMHO.
Posted by: Dubai at February 17, 2009 05:43 AM
RE FT: I invite you to familiarise yourself with the search function. The date range Year 2008 should help you further. As for the authorities, they are a bunch of thin skinned Bedouin. Or as the Maghrebines would say "3aroubine 110%"
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 18, 2009 12:02 PM
Speaking of Doha, how are they doing? They've raised their political profile a lot in later years, for sure.
But my question to all you finance people: I'm told there's also some sort of matching development drive to overtake their local rivals economically and skyline-wise? If so, how is that going?
Posted by: alle at February 19, 2009 12:01 AM
More, from the article:
“Why is Abu Dhabi allowing its neighbor to have its international reputation trashed, when it could bail out Dubai’s banks and restore confidence?” said Christopher M. Davidson, who predicted the current crisis in “Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success,” a book published last year.
“Perhaps the plan is to centralize the U.A.E.” under Abu Dhabi’s control, he mused, in a move that would sharply curtail Dubai’s independence and perhaps change its signature freewheeling style.
Is he just being conspiratorial or not?
Posted by: alle at February 19, 2009 12:09 AM