As the review points out, Dubai’s wealth and booming economy does not come from oil but from trade, luxury tourism, high technology, and real estate investments. As Davidson’s title suggests there is another side to Dubai’s recent success. Dubai remains a closed political system and its patronage system often encourages complacency among the future leaders of the country. It also has a growing underground economy and has become a hub for gunrunning, money laundering, and human trafficking. Finally, questions continue to linger about the government’s possible ties to Al Qaeda.
Here is an excerpt from the review:
The book defines Dubai as a new breed of political and urban animal, equal parts Las Vegas and Singapore. Nominally Islamic but increasingly Western on its public face, Dubai combines laissez-faire economic policies with an unapologetically closed political system. As a place to run an international business, Dubai has few peers, as was demonstrated last year when defense contractor Halliburton, to Washington’s chagrin, relocated its corporate headquarters there from Houston. As a political entity, Davidson writes, “Dubai is still an autocracy, where real evidence of an opening for true democracy proves hard to find, and where far less political reform has occurred than in neighboring Gulf states, including even Saudi Arabia.”