Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Dubai Expatriates

Heatstruck economy
Numbers of my mates are now in Dubai, some there for many years, some just going.   Given the meltdown of Dubai World, what's life like there for the expat?  
A lady we bumped into in the school reception at at UK boarding school in an undisclosed location, waiting for an interview with the Registrar, was over from Dubai.  Just that day, a couple of weeks ago, the headlines were about Dubai World about to sink into the Arabian sands.   But  she told me that it was all a beat up and things were just fine there.  Another mate rang me from Dubai to tell me that it was all a ploy of the Sheiks to short the market then wangle the defaults to bring the market down, but that they were not really defaults but "defaults", so after covering their short positions, they'd be back to business as usual, which is throwing absurd amounts of money at absurd project, indoor skiing and all.  Well, that's my mate's account:  kind of global sheikh-down, you might say, as if they hadn't already got enough from the global transfer of $US 10 trillion of oil money to the Gulf since the seventies.  And indeed it's so proven, as the sheikhs' mates in Abu Dhabi have circled the camels and come to the aid of their profligate cousins.
Claudia Pugh-Thomas writes in today's Herald Tribune:
... if the money really is gone, there will be a significant demographic shift within the expatriates who constitute the majority of the population. We all come here for the money. Some choose to stay for the lifestyle, some for the lack of a better alternative. Many see life in Dubai as a welcome break from civic responsibility; the expat can skim the surface, cream off the good, ignore the bad, live the dream. As long as there’s an economy to speak of. If that fails, you have to leave. No work, no visa, goodbye.
Read it all here.