Dubai, By Jim Krane
Sunday 04 April 2010
Until the 19th century, Dubai was a small, mud-walled village of around a dozen streets, situated on a creek. Then, in 1833, the Al Maktoum sheikhs took over. They have ruled in an unbroken dynasty ever since, and turned Dubai into a city-state of world importance.
Unlike its neighbours, Dubai is not oil-rich; oil accounted for only three per cent of its revenues in 2006. Dubai's wealth comes from trade, transport and tourism. Thanks to a series of canny decisions by its rulers – enlarging the harbour, muscling in on the diamond trade, starting an airline, building soaring hotels – the tiny emirate's economy has mushroomed faster than any in history. It's not true about the undersea restaurant, but there is an indoor ski slope.
Krane admires Dubai's success, but also explores the downside of growth, with chapters on exploitation of migrant workers, and racial and cultural tensions. An afterword acknowledges how hard the recession has hit – Dubai's population is predicted to drop by 17 per cent. But Krane is hopeful it will recover; anyone who wants to see stability in the region, he writes, "cannot help but root for this gutsy city".
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao live: Mayweather puts on defensive masterclass to win by unanimous decision
- 4 Floyd Mayweather's mouthguard costs $25,000 - enough to fly to Las Vegas and back 18 times
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Daredevil, Netflix, TV review: Marvel wins first fight in bid for television domination with Charlie Cox's superhero vigilante
Grace Dent on TV: Peter Kay's Car Share actually made me laugh out loud
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns