Welcome to Dubai!
If you turn to your left, you’ll notice a 2000 ft. long penis sticking out of the desert. That would be the “Burj Dubai,” the latest entry in the global tinkle contest of who can build the highest skyscraper. This radiant phallus will contribute 7-star restaurants and luxury apartments to the lovely facade of the oil-industry built economy. Did we mention that the tower’s construction labor force (mostly foreign) is being horribly exploited and mistreated? What hasn’t been built in the desert without exploited labor?
Like the cover of a fantasy novel the only thing the Burj Dubai is missing is a dragon.
—image courtesy of MotherJones.com
Not only is it so very tall — it uses an impressive amount of resources. Architect Adrian Smith and chief builder Samsung Engineering had a moderate budget of $4.1 billion to work with, so no corners were cut when it came to inefficiency. According to the project’s official website:
1.) At peak cooling times, the tower will require the equivalent of 10,000 tons of melting ice per hour. On top of that, a quarter of a million gallons of water will be consumed daily.
2.) The condensation from these systems is being collected by a system designed to water the building’s surrounding outdoor plants.
3.) The tower’s peak electricity demand is equivalent to 360,000 100-watt bulbs operating at the same time.
4.) 20.7 acres of glass, 27,900 square meters of metal, 300,000 cyds of concrete (enough to build a sidewalk that is 1,200 miles long), and 31,400 metric tons of rebar, which, if laid from end to end, would reach a quarter of the way around the world.
Once again, let me remind you that this is going towards 7-star restaurants, luxury apartments and expensive corporate suites.
The 60 minutes report — above — reports on Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, who touts what he hopes will be the “biggest and best” Dubai — built on the blood of European, Asian and Arabic laborers, bellboys and architects being paid less-than-meager wages and will hopefully leave when everything is completed. Al Maktoum owns a third of “Burj Dubai,” and escorts anchor Steve Kroft through a labyrinth of gold-trimmed corporate offices and mile-wide shopping centers. Manmade islands float on the nearby Persian Gulf, and $5 million mansions rest on their pillows. In what shapes up to be a commercial for investors, Dubai proudly presents itself on 60 minutes as a city of excess and wealth — Al Maktoum’s version of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.
Activites: marching band, art club, mock-world domination, world’s biggest dick.
—image courtesy of Middle-East-Online.com
Here’s a history lesson: Japan’s impatient push for modern and industrial supremacy in the early 20th century was destroyed in less than 5 years by a war. It cost them hundreds of thousands of child laborers, cultural identity and economic stability. Even on their second try, Japan’s technology push dug them into a recession that forced them into a more conservative stance. Dubai sits on billions of dollars worth of oil. When the oil well runs dry, so will the city. Nobody’s going to pay 100 dollars for a barrel of sand.
Buildings are just buildings and they eventually erode and wash away. Failure to invest in common sense will be costly.