Thursday, May 31, 2007

The World is for sale.

"The World is a 300 island development reclaimed from the sea in the shape of the world map." This is the second Dubai, multi-island reclamation project.


Greybishop said...

Dubai really personifies the old adage "More money than brains".

As cool as it is, you just find yourself asking...WHY!?

Still, I'd like to see it in person...

Anonymous said...

Why, indeed. Especially when it's nestled between Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Have you heard of the Smart car by BMW (I think)?

Anonymous said...

Do you already have this in CA? Are cars pretty much interchangeable between US and CA?
I'm really intrigued by this car. I'd love to be able to afford one.

Sawsee said...

Hey GB & JDH!

Yes, what an expensive project!

I've seen quite a few of those cars around here. They look great but on the highway with huge tractor-trailer trucks roaring by, they seem a bit precarious and vulnerable! I guess if everybody had one, it would even the playing field.

In Europe, these kinds of 'mini' vehicles are everywhere. I'm actually surprised it took so long for them to arrive in North America.

Our car selections are, pretty well, identical. We may get more Northern Europe cars here than the US.

Greybishop said...

When I was living in Dubai, I always wondered about the sanity of some of these Mega projects.

One sheik was famous for building a GIANT pickup truck. You could put 6 or 8 regular sized pickups in the bed of this monstrosity. He also wanted to build (and probably has by now) a giant ring on an island in the gulf, sort of Dubai's answer to St. Louis's arch.

They were (when I left) starting a massive second creek (there's a salt water creek that divides Dubai in 2, man made) and a HUGE preplanned mini city around it.

Unreal. That hotel that you see (the tall structure that looks like a big sail) was an UNBELEIVABLE project in it's day. They built a man made island about 100 yards offshore, just so they could put the hotel there. The walls are made from some space aged polymer canvas type material. It's positively outrageous the money that gets thrown around.

Any one of the many sheiks in the region could EASILY take a small third world country out of poverty and into the 21st century with a fraction of his fortune. Much like the west's super-rich, these men pay only the merest lip service to charity and humanitarianism. Self agrandizement and material gratification are the order of the day.

Still fun to visit though.

Greybishop said...

Oh and I'd still go back to live in Dubai in a HEART BEAT!!!
Best city on earth in my opinion, despite the social injustices. The heat is wonderful and in terms of proximity to "the war", it's not something that you really notice when you're there.

Sawsee said...

A friend recently went to Dubai and was shocked at the exhorbitance.

The Saudi Royal family numbers in the thousands, all getting compensated. I wonder how long it will be before the militants start taking aim at their own countries (Brunei, Dubai, Saudi Arabia).

A good friend, who was raised Catholic, had his faith shaken when visiting the Vatican. The wealth that is on view is beyond comprehension. If the Church decided to sell a painting or sculpture a week to help build a community or country, conditions would be vastly improved.

I read in the news, a Prince from (Brunei?) recently paid Michael Jackson $10,000,000 just to show up at his birthday party; not to perform, just 'show up'.

What was the giant pickup truck used for? To cruise the strip?

Greybishop said...

I pride myself on my "small 'c'" conservative values. I believe that we should have the right to make and keep as much money as we want and not have to answer for it.

Still, when you see the excesses of the "super" rich, you have to wonder about their value system. How can a man who owns billions of dollars in assets, a vast portion of which he will never actually see or lay hands on, profess to be a virtuous leader and not try to use his wealth, power and influence to improve the lives of people less fortunate?

I'm a realistic guy. I don't begrudge these folks their fast cars, or private jets. It's the BILLIONS that they don't need and would never miss that get to me.

As for the Vatican, don't get me started...

Sawsee said...

I think we are on the same side of the fence: I agree as flawed as the capitalist system may be, it still allows flexibility for individuals to invest and chase their dream.

Years ago, during the USSR days, I remember reading about food shortages in Moscow, while trains filled with food, were broken down unable to deliver their much needed, quickly-spoiling bounty. It just made me think, that if individuals were allowed to use their own means the food would have arrived by another way.

It seems, in the Western world, we cheer for the little guy until they get too wealthy and powerful. Gates is a good example of this. I totally agree, there should be more philanthropy.

Did you read that the Vatican has doubled the rent they charge on numerous properties they own?
I can see price increases, but 'doubling' is not the best PR move.

Greybishop said...

There is little doubt that NONE of the systems we use for economics are perfect, but capitalism has the virtue of rarely allowing and never encouraging waste. The end result of the ideals of communism when applied in real world settings has never been "successful" as measured against capitalism.

Still, there ought to come a point in the head of any person smart enough to amass a huge fortune when the light bulb comes on and they say "I have enough" and start giving back. Doesn't seem to happen very often.

Gates' new foundation with Buffett is a rare example and I applaud it reservedly. I'll give them a standing "O" if I see real, SUSTAINABLE results from their charity.

Charity isn't always the answer either. In some cases, like sub-Saharan Africa, regime changes NEED to happen before any real help can get to those that need it. Unfortunately, as is often the case in human history, those financing the effort to affect change are often as bad, or worse, than those already in power.

Humanity is fighting an uphill battle against poverty, ignorance, pestilence and violence. It's hard to see that when you're sitting on a man-made island in the gulf, but it's still true. If I were the administrator, I'd impose taxes on each "island" and make sure that the money went to the poorest of the poor in the corresponding country. It mightn't solve world hunger, but at least it'd make me feel a little "Robin Hood-ee".

Anonymous said...

"Humanity is fighting an uphill battle against poverty, ignorance, pestilence and violence."
GB, you just named two of the four horsemen.
Coincidence? I think not.

Greybishop said...

Violence and war are pretty much synonymous and I feel that ignorance is far worse than death.

I guess I have my own four horsemen...

Sawsee said...

Hey guys!

Communism tends to create an Aristocracy without a middleclass; where capitalism there tends to be more levels of classes. The concept of communism does sound fair but greed and power always perverts it.

Yes, I agree, charity rarely works as the basic fundamentals need changing first. I really like the 'charities' that give the people basic skills and tools. One charity builds waterwells with handpumps and provides education on producing viable crops. So often charitable food and medicine end up in the hands of the tyrants.

I really hope that the Gates/Buffett foundation sees results. Unfortunately, science/research is not a profession that openly shares findings, as everyone wants credit and, ultimately, the patent. One scientist was saying they don't even share info within the same company.