Tag Archives: Capitalism

The new Baroque, built on debt

Thought I’d just share this interesting photo-journalism piece about decline in Dubai. It’s quite astonishing to see how rapidly the boom can turn to (relative) bust. I know sustainability is a buzzword right now, but Dubai is really an amazing illustration of how the machinations of capitalism in its most unrestrained form operate without regard for sustained development. Even regardless of environmental concerns, the lack of planning at the heart of this desert wonderland has brought even some of its most basic and necessary functions (such as sewerage) to its knees.

The image of workers in a labour camp, unpaid for seven months, makes one wonder what the human impact of this huge playground is going to be. What of Dubai’s culture in the years to come? Perhaps like an abandoned theme park populated only by those who didn’t have the option of fleeing and leaving their Chrysler behind. If this continues, the jet fuelled White Flight (so to speak) is of a different nature to that which left downtown Detroit, for example, crippled years ago. Will an ‘authentic’ upswelling of culture expand to fill the gap? After all, Detroit gave us Techno. Will the Burj Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Al Arab be reclaimed in future generations as cultural complexes, filled with artists, musicians, writers and architects inspired by the dying, sand-strewn remains of this once-‘great’ carcass? One can only hope so.

Here’s the piece, with some really great pictures by Lauren Greenfield:

Dubai’s Improbable Tale

Currently listening to: Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden