The dark side of Dubai

Dubai lagoon
Dubai lagoon

The real estate market in Dubai has cratered, leaving behind half-completed opulent hotels, empty malls for the ultra-wealthy, and exposing an exploitative class systemwhere expats are tolerated and most of the work is done by an underclass of literally slave labor. The underclass comes from other countries, lured by false promises. their passports are taken, and they are worked incessantly. If you’re an expat, you can’t leave and in fact can be be jailed if you owe money you can’t pay. It’s not a democracy. The Independent covers this and more in a fascinating must-read.

But there’s more to the story than that.

From US News and World Report

Dubai also serves as the region’s criminal crossroads, a hub for smuggling, money laundering, and underground banking.

The construction business is well-known and notorious as a way to make money do magic tricks. Dirty money becomes clean. Clean money disappears. Gray money sluices all over the place. Which might help explain one reason why some of those now-empty megaliths for the ultra-wealthy got built in the first place.