Globalisation Time-space compression has transformed the structure and scale of human relationships - social, cultural, political and economic processes now operate globally. It is argued that we live in a borderless world in which the nation-state has been rendered impotent by ‘footloose’ MNCs which do not respect ‘national’ boundaries. The death of Geography and difference?
The world city network Globalisation actually enhances the role of cities. Cities are nodes through which global systems of capital production and exchange are organised (e.g. MNC HQs). All cities operate in a global system. A global perspective reveals how a city cannot just be studied in isolation but has to be understood as belonging to a network of cities that stretches across the world.
Cities exist within a complex web of connections
The world city network The Globalisation and World Cities (GaWC) network - a network of researchers who have attempted to measure how connected cities are to each other. Cities are more less integrated into the global system – arguably those that are more integrated are more successful. This is dynamic and constantly changing!
Emerging world cities Outside of the three ‘key arenas’ of globalisation, key cities in ‘developing’ countries are important economic gateways. Buenos Aires (16 th ), Mumbai (17 th ), Sao Paulo (21 st ), Mexico City (24 th ), Caracas (38 th ), Santiago (41 st ), Johannesburg (44 th )
A case study of Dubai The Middle East is an emerging arena of globalisation – and its cities are emerging world cities, becoming increasingly connected into the world city network. Dubai is emerging as the key economic gateway to the Middle East (52 nd ). Other emerging world cities in the region include Riyadh (59 th ), Cairo (61 st ) and Kuwait City (65 th ).
A case study of Dubai Up to 1956, when the first concrete building was constructed, the entire population lived in ‘basrasrti’ homes made from palm fronds. Dubai’s chief regional advantage has been its endowment of offshore oil – although this is modest compared to Abu Dhabi and other Middle Eastern states.
A case study of Dubai How might we describe the type of city being created in Dubai? “Dubai is a prototype of the new post- global city, which creates appetites rather than solves problems” Dubai has become the new global icon of ‘imagineered urbanism’ – “…an emerging dream world of conspicuous consumption and what the locals boast as ‘supreme lifestyles’”. Davis (2006)
‘Apocalyptic luxuries’ (Davis 2006) Dubai is a city of extreme luxuries based on the wealth derived from offshore oil – i.e. they are gained at the expense of massive environmental damage. In a utopian model, this windfall would become an investment fund for raising the environmental efficiency of urban systems. In the real world of capitalism, this has not happened. A case study of Dubai
An economically sustainable strategy for development? In short, no. For a start, Dubai’s modest offshore oil resources are now rapidly being exhausted. Dubai’s economy is in ‘speculative overdrive’ - global excess profits from the hugely inflated price of oil exports is invested in real estate markets and the construction of huge skyscrapers. A case study of Dubai
“If past business cycles are any guide, the end could be nigh and very messy” Davis (2006) A case study of Dubai
What are the challenges and opportunities facing Dubai in a post-oil economy? Assuming that the ‘mega-project blitzkrieg’ would run as planned, it was predicted that Dubai would derive all its GDP from non-oil related activities like tourism and finance by 2010. Dubai predicted that the city would attract15 million overseas visitors a year by 2010. A case study of Dubai
Dubai also aims to become a leading hub in the global economy, and position itself as a hub for institutional finance and a gateway to the Middle Eastern region for capital and investment. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is expected to rival international financial centres in New York, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. A case study of Dubai
However, there are some key conflicts here with Arab Muslim culture: Prostitution and a sinister sex trade built on kidnapping, slavery and violence – while the regime disavow any collusion with this industry, insiders know that this trade is “essential to keeping the 5-star hotels full of European and Arab businessmen” Davis (2006). A case study of Dubai
The education of women is essential if Dubai & the UAE are to modernize their economy & become the high-tech hub of the Middle East. Will a society based on traditional values let women become truly become equal partners in business and society? A case study of Dubai
Islamic finance is based on Islamic religious grounds. It prohibits three aspects of conventional interest-based economics: riba (interest), gharar (uncertainty), and maysir (gambling). How will this effect the development of Dubai as an emerging global financial centre? The disappearance of traditional culture and sense of history pride have begun to disappear into Westernised popular culture. A case study of Dubai
‘Forced labour’ and migrant exploitation. “Dubai’s luxury lifestyles are attended by vast numbers of Filipina, Sri Lankan and Indian maids, while the building boom is carried on the shoulders of an army of poorly paid Pakistanis and Indians… working twelve-hour shifts, six and a half days a week, in the asphalt-melting desert heat” Davis (2006) A case study of Dubai
99% of the private sector workforce are immediately deportable non-citizens – from South Asia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka Dubai flouts international labour regulations and refuses to adopt the international Migrant Workers Convention. Rights disappear as often recruitment agencies confiscate passports and visas when immigrants arrive. A case study of Dubai
The construction industry has an appalling safety record and neglects even the most basic needs of its workers. In 2004, Human Rights watch estimated that as many as 880 construction workers were killed on the job, with most fatal accidents going unreported. A case study of Dubai
Press Freedom is restrained from reporting on exploitive working conditions and prostitution. Workers are crowded into work camps on the city’s outskirts, up to 12 to a room, often without air conditioning and functioning toilets. Conditions are squalid and often unbearable. A case study of Dubai
Migrant workers are paid very low wages ($100 to $150 per month) for working up to 20 hours per day. Often this pay is withheld for many months. Much of this will be sent home, often leaving these workers with no money at all. Workers complaining to authorities are threatened with deportation. A case study of Dubai
“This existence weighs heavily on Adnan… he feels trapped… We listen quietly as he narrates his story… His state of mind is expressed in the statement “jism chall raha hain magar rooh ne sath chodh diya hai” (the body is still going but the soul has departed). Every so often he has to stop as his eyes begin to well up with tears which must not be allowed to fall and undermine his masculinity”. A case study of Dubai
Very rarely do we see truly ‘new’ urbanisation. Dubai is an emerging world city being built from scratch… but is its construction a story of missed opportunities? Environmental sustainability Economic sustainability – a ‘third’way? Racial and sexual equality Cultural diversity and tolerance Social justice, welfare and human rights A case study of Dubai
The Globalisation and World Cities website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/ Global Urban Analysis: A survey of cities in Globalisation (Earthscan, 2010) Davis, M (2006) “Fear and money in Dubai” New Left Review volume 41, pp 47-68 Take a look at…
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