Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dubai the Ghost Town

Is Dubai's economy disintegrating before our eyes? Is the former boomtown only a few more failed investments away from bankruptcy? The NY Times seems to think so, although from my perspective here on the ground, I'm not so convinced. I was in Dubai earlier this week and I saw little evidence that the emirate is in trouble. The "mostly clear" roads described in the Times article were certainly nowhere in evidence as we battled traffic for 45 minutes on our way to dinner at a Sri Lankan restaurant only one neighborhood away from where we'd started. The brand new Dubai Mall filled up with shoppers as soon as the workday ended, and even if this can be attributed in part to the steep discounts (up to 75 percent) currently offered at many retail outlets in honor of the month-long Dubai Shopping Festival, it was still a sign that Dubaians aren't hoarding their dirhams so closely that they can't still indulge in frivolous consumerism. In the end, it may be exactly that enthusiasm to spend, spend, spend that Dubai is famous for that saves them, keeping their economy alive where that of the thrifty Americans failed.


Dubai said...

I agree, I think Dubai is a long way from being a ghost town. Traffic is still jammed, schools are still full. That's not to say there aren't people losing jobs and leaving the country but you'd expect newspapers of the calibre of the NY Times to not oversensationlize an issue. Perhaps you should add the NY Times to that favorite works of fiction blog you have a link to :).

Anna said...

Agreed. I would have expected better from the NY Times. Their job is to report the truth, not to pander to those in the West (and I know they're out there) who can't wait to see the great Dubai crash and burn.

Anonymous said...

Dubai is defaulting on its payments. enough said.