Makes alot of sense to build the worlds tallest building on the middle of a desert. It could not look more out of place. I love the video of the tall glass buildings surrounded by shacks and slums. Kinda reminds me of Pheonix AZ.
60 Minutes did a story on Dubai (included a brief mention of the Burj Dubai) this past Sunday. There are no shacks or slums within city limits, but the labourers employed in construction are housed in mostly barren buildings with little more than floor mats to sleep on at day's end, roughly 20 miles outside of Dubai, hence the buses seen in the video.
My fault, I should have been more specific. I mean that the city could not be more out of place. Its located in the middle of a desert and surrounded by shacks and slums. It exists only because the crown prince of Dubai is more concerned about his own wallet and legacy than the well being of his people. Believe me, I am far from what you would call a compassionate person, but the whole idea of that place makes me ill.
Well... technically, they're expatriates, so the appeal to paternalism doesn't quite work.
Only 3% of Dubai's economy is petroleum related. The port is the largest in the middle east. The tourist sector accounts for 30% of the economy. So, in a sense, the Burj Dubai is an investment, not a extravagance.
An argument could be made that any skyscraper is excessive. I think the construction in Dubai is a good thing, and I think the Freedom Tower is too. That site calls out for something grandiose; if you replace towering symbols of capitalism with small boxy buildings, it's saying that when we get knocked down we don't get up again.
As for Dubai, as Jeremy mentions the construction and urbanization of the city has allowed the emirate[sic?] to move its economy away from a petroleum-based model to industries that will still be around when the oil runs out in 50 years. The construction crews may live in shacks outside town, but if they didn't have these jobs what else would they do? Any jobs that bring in a steady pay check, even a pay check far below Western standards, is a positive thing in that region. Do conditions need to improve? Absolutely. People living eight or more to a room in aluminum shacks is unconscionable, but employment is better than no employment.
"we highlight what appears to be the most common concern of the construction workers: extremely low wages, typically withheld by employers for a minimum of two months along with their passports, as “security” to keep the worker from quitting."
How does that sound?
It's not as if this tower is privately funded. Its being built with government money. Keep that in mind.
Contrarily to it's neighbors (like the Saudis whose economy basically consists in pumping oil, loading it onto ships and waiting for the $$$ wire into accounts), the UAE has done a good job of diversifying it's economy beyond petroleum production and exports; That only a handful of people live on that ocean of oil helps as well. These people are obscenely rich...
I'm as red, white, and blue as they come. But I guarantee you that the working conditions at the Burj Dubai site far exceed what workers were forced to deal with while building the Hoover Dam, the Brooklyn Bridge, the transcontinental railroad, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc.
And I'm pretty sure Buffalo doesn't want to tangle with Phoenix in the slum category...
Not sure how many of you have been to middle east, but those workers there know very well what they where getting into. The dream of most people, in my place, was to go to Dubai to work!!! You can compare it to Mexican people coming to US for work. Even though you may consider their living styles/working condition in US to be abysmal, they are making more money than they could back in their place. So is the case in Dubai, where most of the workers are from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Couple of years in Dubai and they can go back to their places and live like kings....(there is no immigration issue as most middle east countries does not allow immigration). I remember people paying a lot of money to get a work visa to these countries.
And BTW, many of these workers has a better living standards/medical care than some in US. So lets not sit in our ivory towers and start throwing stones just because it is in a different part of the world and a different culture....
And, isn't this what capitalism all about??? If you have money, you spend it, and it will trickle to others down the chain....so why gripe???