"Mike Davis: Dubai is the capital of an alternate planetary existence for the rich and the very rich. Dubai stands at the intersection of oil rich lands and an almost infinite supply of very cheap labor from South Asia. Although there have been other instant cities in world history, St. Petersburg is an example, never before has there been a plan to build what could be described as a utopian capitalist city.
Half the property and business in Dubai is owed by a single family, in Dubai there are no legal trade unions or electoral processes. Dubai is a city in which every effort is made to build attractive platforms for foreign investors, from media and telecommunications sectors to international financial firms. Every effort has been made to build an attractive city for rich foreigners, including gated communities that advertise supreme lifestyles.
Instead of having any national or city-wide policies, Dubai has created different rights and regulations for different gated enclaves. Within the Internet city for example you have more or less freedom on the Internet but not in the rest of Dubai, or within the financial district you have rules equivalent to the London Stock Exchange. In history there has never been a similar project to build a literally utopian place for international financial markets.
In two-hundred to two-hundred-fifty years of industrial capitalism there isn’t a similar example. Dubai has this ability due to enormous financial resources which leverage this incredible project, in which the ruling family in Dubai has taken what they perceive to be the best features from Singapore, Hong Kong, Disneyland and Las Vegas, literally turning sand into gold with the help of oil profits."