The Land of Excess

Last night I watched a story on HDNet about Ski Dubai. The story covered the hurdles that the engineers faced putting a full alpine ski resort in Dubai. If you don’t know, Dubai is in the middle of the desert in the United Arab Emirates. Yes there is now snow in the desert. But we shouldn’t be surprised; Dubai is also where The World resort (pictured) was built at a cost of $14 billion USD. The World is a resort of 300 man made islands that are off the coast of Dubai (pictured). Dubai also boasts the world’s tallest building, the Burj Dubai, at a cost of $4 billion USD and $20 billion USD for the entire city project it encompasses. There is also the world’s only underwater hotel the Hydropolis – it will cost some $7,000 per night to stay there. To reach the hotel you (not me – I can think of better things to spend $7,000 on) you’ll travel via a clear tunnel.

Wow.

Once the amazement wears off all this just makes you wonder about misplaced objectives . The TV shows that detail the development of these wonders, focus on the engineering feats being accomplished. And while they are amazing, it’s hard not to be awestruck by the amazing waste of money, intelligence, resources, and passion. Think about it – it’s as if they are literally building these wonders using money instead of concrete and steel. Think about how obnoxious that kind of display is. Think about it. What if your neighbor was heating their home by burning cash?

Think about the energy it takes to keep this snow frozen so the rich can ski.

Think about how this effort could have been spent towards technology to help poor farmers in impoverished countries farm their lands.

Think about all the people that can’t afford to eat in this world.

Oh it must be amusing as hell to hear an American decry the waste. America, a country where we are eating ourselves to death. One look at Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or New York City and you won’t strain to find these same excesses. That doesn’t mean they were right then. I guess every dog has it’s day, and it’s beginning to seem as if our day is coming to an end.

Power and control in this world follow the money – and right now that isn’t in the United States. No army is going to fix that.

  • grace

    I don’t know very much about United Arab Emirates. But I have read that they have so much money (from oil and gas) that none of their citizens pay taxes of any kind, yet enjoy free healthcare, college educations and any other social service that we can envy. That is one rich country!

  • grace

    Oh, and I also saw a whole story (20/20? 60 Minutes?) about how those giant skyscrapers and deluxe condos are being built on the backs of poor immigrant workers who earn next to nothing, live in squalor, have no benefits at all, and regularly perish on the job from the sheer danger of the work. So the UAE obviously jumped in with both feet to being a rich, powerful nation. It must feel surreal to be welding steel on a high rise for a couple of dollars a day while celebrities and billionaires stroll by in their ski gear.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jassim Jassim

    And do you know that only 6% of the revenue of Dubai comes from Oil ? The rest comes from tourism, trade and other services.Im an expat dubai resident and do agree that there are issues that need to be resolved such as labour rights and their living condition.But at the same time you need to understand that these are issues that are faced by any fast growing economy.The profits of almost all consumer brands (Obviously owned by American and European Co’s) such as Nike and Adidas are fueled by the cheap and and exploitative labour scene in Asia ?

  • grace

    I hear that a lot, that every country that goes through its industrialization era experiences growing pains and mistreats their labor forces. We did it here in the United States as well. But I don’t understand why it always must be that way. Perhaps I don’t know enough about economics. Even a few modest improvements for the workers in Dubai could mean the difference between life and death.

    The mass manufacturing of cheap consumer goods in China and other Asian countries seems to be a complicated collusion of forces which results in a long list of terrible outcomes (poor working conditions, incredible pollution, the cultivation of a disposable lifestyle in richer countries). And most people are aware of it, whether they choose to look, or to look away.

  • Spencer

    I chose not to write this about oil because it complicates things. Yes oil might account for all of UAEs GDP, but it’s the branch that the leaves grow from.

    If you look at America for most of the last decade, we were no different. Audacious displays of wealth have been around since the beginning of time. I guess it would be nice if someone would aspire to better than those that preceded – but that’s naive I guess.