James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Dubai: Liberty's Beacon

My Partial Observer articles have recently emphasized thinking of government like a business, and this means that a form of monarchy would be the best form of government (because a King and his family is permanent, as opposed to republican office holders, and so is completely invested in the welfare of the country) and revenues generated from natural resources and site rents.

Now, here's Doug Casey on Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, a desert country in the Persian Gulf:

Dubai’s Sheikh Rashid, who ruled from 1958–1990, said: “What’s good for business is good for Dubai." He not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. His son, Sheikh Mohammed, is apparently at least as business-oriented. They intelligently directed revenues from their oil, when it still flowed, to prime the pump, and then let the market do its thing. Can things change? Of course. This is a hereditary monarchy, and the next Sheikh (like the next U.S. President, for that matter) could be a psycho. But I rather doubt it will happen in Dubai. This country is literally run like a corporation, with the Sheikh acting as the Chairman. The aristocracy are the other directors, and the 100,000 citizens the shareholders. Any serious deviation from a proven corporate culture simply wouldn’t be tolerated.


What’s happening in the Emirates makes me think that even when things go bad in the United States – and if they go bad in China – the world economy will still continue apace. The reason is that any leader of a backwater country who sees what’s happening here will understand that if a boom can be created in an absolute desert in the world’s most notoriously unstable region, then it can be created anywhere. For all anyone knows, the leader of some fly-blown place in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, or Latin America is even now planning on replicating the success of Dubai.

But Dubai is important in another way. It’s an example to the Arab world that they can do something as spectacular as has ever been done – and do it without the deus-ex-machina device of oil. Arabs that see Dubai can view themselves and their culture on a level with the Europeans, Americans, and Orientals, not just as some “camel jockeys” that got lucky by sitting on a pool of oil somebody else discovered and developed.

The success of Dubai is due, partly as a result of this ongoing change in self-perception by Arabs, to the withdrawal of their money from America. Because of the absurd War on Terror, anyone from the Middle East who keeps substantial capital in the U.S. has to be an imbecile. But where, then, to put their money? Before Dubai, there was no place within the Arab culture that was safe. Now there is. It’s safer than America, and much more profitable.

And, lastly, Dubai shows the West in general, and America in particular, that Islam in general, and Arabs in particular, are not necessarily their enemies any more than any other culture. Of course the Bush regime will disregard the lesson.

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