While there are many different evolving structures that have a heavy impact on Dubai, the economic structure of the city is seemingly the most influential structure right now. Almost everyone I have met that has lived in Dubai for a number of years, will say “this is all new, this wasn’t here 15 years ago.” Dubai is a booming economic powerhouse.However, the city has experienced rapid growth, while also experiencing rapid decline.
According to those I have talked to, in 2008, around the same time the recession took place in the United States, Dubai was hit very hard. I have been told that prior to this time, people everywhere – including young people, were driving Ferraris, buying massive lavish homes, and living an unrealistic lifestyle. However, locals here explained to me that none of it was real. Dubai was on a high; experiencing tourism like never before, with money coming in from every direction. Banks began handing out loans to any one that walked in, and people began living way above their means.
The difference between the recession in Dubai and the recession in the United States was that in Dubai, if you lose your job and you didn’t have the cash to pay your loan in full, given a small window of opportunity, you were arrested. Therefore, when the recession hit, people were losing their jobs, with no opportunities for employment, and in turn people began feeling the city. A number of people told me that people would drive to the airport, park their leased cars there, and never return. According to those I have talked to, it was a common sight to see deserted Maserati’s and Ferrari’s on the streets. The people of Dubai quickly learned that something that goes up super-fast, can quickly go down super-fast. Building were left half built, only to restart construction last year.
According to those that lived here, the dynamic of the economic structure completely changed. New laws were put into place, and bank regulations were strictly enforced. Loans are much more difficult to access, and today in Dubai, if your check bounces, you have a small window of opportunity to pay the amount in cash, or you will be arrested. The city regained control, and slowly began expanding again. The economic structure within Dubai is on a steady incline, with tourism being a strong contributing factor. There is an obvious, well-known hierarchy within the city. There is the labor class, the working class, and then the elite. I view Dubai as a well-oiled machine, and everyone knows their place; I view the city as a corporation, and aside from the locals within the Emirates, if you don’t contribute to the overall growth of the corporation, you leave.
The laborers that are brought in from surrounding countries are paid a very low income, however, are provided housing. Most people tell me that the housing is tiny, and is made up of many people occupying one room. However, you will not see a homeless person living here. It’s a serving society – in a way that makes the people that can afford the nicer things feel a sense of superiority. It took me some time to get used to this way of life. You don’t throw away your food at a food court, or even a coffee shop, someone does that for you. There is a job for everything. Those that work within the mall, are hired with a salary, higher than others depending on the store, and also provided a housing allowance. Again, you will not see anyone on the streets here. The government here makes sure of that.
The economic structure of Dubai is based around being the biggest and best of everything. People that come here to work – work hard. This includes the people that I work with every day. It’s a money hungry city, and people come from all over the world looking to get a piece of the pie. Dubai is well known for its tourist attractions and its business attactions. Its port, JebeL Ali, operates at the center of the exporting trade in the Middle East. Dubai has developed into a global hub for service industries such as IT, finance, media and design. It is assumed that much of Dubai’s financial success has come from oil, however, as of 2009 about 95% of Dubai’s gross domestic product is not oil. UAE tops Middle East in infrastructure investments
Pictures to be added to this post shortly…