Thursday, February 12, 2009

Whither Dubai

Since the workers and money are leaving in droves, I wonder if this means that the Alstom APS light rail system and subway will be put on hold soon.

7 comments:

Rhywun said...

I saw this one coming years ago. It was basically a fantasy economy, based on autocrats and oil. Forbes should print a retraction for all the hype they've heaped on it lately.

Alon Levy said...

It's not exactly oil-based - Dubai itself has no oil. Instead, it tried to become an entrepot gateway to its hinterland, essentially the Singapore of the Middle East. The problem, of course, is that its economy was based on trading with oil states. But yeah, it was fairly obvious to me, too - at one point I wrote a book that placed a severe oil glut in 2015 with almost the same consequences for Dubai.

The autocracy is less of an economic problem. Singapore is autocratic; Hong Kong is plutocratic. Entrepot cities seem to be faring well under authoritarianism, in a way larger countries just can't.

Rhywun said...

Heh OK, I'm no expert, but I skimmed through a bunch of gushing articles about Dubai and thought, "This is gonna end bad." I wonder how that 160-story building that's almost finished is going to work out.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same city that was built with slaves?

Alon Levy said...

Uh, what?

Justin said...

Anon:

Same city.

Mind you, well paid slaves. But slaves nonetheless

Thomas said...

The Dubai Metro Red Line is so close to completion that I can't imagine work on it being suspended. The future of the Green Line is less certain because they've still got a way to go with it. I can't speak for the Al Soufoh Tram, but I do know that transit planning for the Dubailand development - one of the projects I was working on over there - has been put on indefinite hold.