Sunday, July 18, 2010

The mysteries of Arabia

Abu Dhabi to JFK

Where are all the older people in the UAE?  Granted, it's hot outside, and there aren't many opportunities to see anyone on the street, let alone the older generation.  Yet, aside from a few mall sightings, you never see groups of older people mingling, socializing, kibbitzing (oops, wrong word...), strolling with their families, mall walking, you name it.  One shudders to imagine......

Unemployment is 0.8% in the UAE.  Hmm, that's a good one. Someone in the government actually promulgates this statistic and the brain-dead general newspapers simply report the stat, without comment or analysis.  Economics 101 would suggest that, at 0.8% unemployment, the UAE is either a near-perfect labor market with jobs and job seekers perfectly matched in a virtual instant, or they are suffering from wage inflation the likes of which we haven't seen in the developed world in some time.   Neither, of course, is true, from my experience---if anything, there is wage deflation in the market at the moment.  

Abu Dhabi will become one of the cultural capitals of the world.  Well, that's the plan anyway.  A lot of museums are going to be opening 'branch offices' there (and in Qatar) in the years ahead.  And perhaps, when they build them, the people will come.  Let's face it, though, people are as likely to come to the UAE as to Vegas for a rich cultural experience for the long foreseeable future.   The mistake that the Emiratis are making about culture is the same one they are making about skyscrapers and sleek office towers----building it doesn't make it so. Behind the Potemkin-like first world image is a vintage developing world mentality.  If you want to have a cultural landscape, you need to find a way to attract cultured people.  The UAE is about money, not culture and class.

We're useful here as long as we can work----when you reach the end of your useful life as a worker, you are required to depart.  There are no retirement plans for long-term retirees in the UAE.  Might explain the scarcity of the aged and the rock-bottom unemployment rate, yes?


  1. 人應該做自己認為對的事,而不是一味跟著群眾的建議走。..................................................

  2. so glad you are back on the roll....I have missed your musings.....Liz