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School of Government & International Affairs

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Christopher Davidson

Davidson, Christopher M. (2009). Dubai: Foreclosure of a Dream. Middle East Report 251(Summer): 8-13.

Author(s) from Durham


Glitzy Dubai, long considered the new Monte Carlo
or the Las Vegas of the Middle East, has suff ered one
of the worst crash landings of this global recession.
Dubai might be considered a bellwether of the global credit
crunch. Until recently touted as a beacon of progress in
an otherwise unstable region, the tiny emirate’s seemingly
innovative economic and political model is now unravelling,
with no end in sight to the uninterrupted stream of bad news.
Construction has ground to a shuddering halt, unemployment
is rising, sovereign debt is exposed, lawsuits are being
prepared, and the population is decreasing, as those who
moved to Dubai in search of a better life have either lost
their jobs or are cutting their losses and leaving.
To make matters worse, as the city empties itself out,
traffi c thins, and cars and credit cards are abandoned at the
airport, the embattled authorities have embroiled themselves
in fresh controversies by introducing protectionist policies
for their citizens and a new media law that forbids criticism
of the economy, and earning Dubai an anti-Semitic branding
in the sports world by denying a visa to an Israeli athlete.
With investor confi dence in tatters and debt repayments
looming, its humiliated rulers have had little choice but to
turn to their wealthier neighbors. But although help has
fi nally arrived, it is by no means the lifeline that the emirate
really needs, and Dubai’s future hangs in the balance.