When the world's tallest building rises next to the world's largest manmade harbor and its largest manmade marina and a whole bunch of other biggests and tallests and mosts, what do you get? The vast real estate scam that is Dubai. Dubai is a huge confidence game hatched by the Emir and his cronies to enrich themselves. The financing for the Dubai boom has come mainly from Arab governments and rich Arabs, who were looking for someplace to invest their oil money. It's no surprise that as the money has dried up, the Emirate is on the brink of default.
The announced goal of the Emir is to make Dubai into a world financial center rivaling New York, London, Mumbai and Tokyo. What a great idea. It might even work, although so far by far the biggest industry in Dubai is construction, with tourism second and finanical services pretty much negligible. I mean, Los Angeles started as a real estate scam, too. But I suspect that as soon as the Saudis and Kuwaitis get tired of throwing money down the Dubai rathole, the whole vast, glittery party will whither away, leaving a bunch of huge, empty buildings in the desert.