Dubai; Globalisation on Steroids



It is so easy to indulge in to a gold dusted caramel latte whilst you devour your soul through an elite ‘mani-pedi’ at one of the world’s finest 7 star hotels. The lavish lifestyle of Dubai endures luxury way beyond human capacity. The significant economic and technological advances in Dubai over the last three decades are due to widespread globalization being practiced. The height of multiculturalism has been reached by Dubai employing and incorporating diverse talents of various nationalities. Manual labourer’s from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Nepal have assembled master pieces such as the Burj Khalifa. Sales women from Russia and Kyrgyzstan sell garments from Poland, makeup from France, chocolates from Belgium and stuffed nougat dates from Saudi Arabia. Philippino’s not only own the domestic workers industry but also serve in a medley of mind-blowing restaurants, cafes and coffee shops. With a boundary-less market competition is more majestic than a dozen shows of cirque du soleil. From British supermarkets such as Waitrose to traditional spice souks of Arabia, the city has created a fusion of cultures whilst it remains to be an ‘oasis for global nomads’. The role of transnational states are larger than reality with an expanding international trading system Dubai has revolutionized the dynamics of travel and communication turning itself into a microcosm of globalization.

However, a world away from the swanky skyscrapers and pulsating nightclubs of Dubai lay the dejected, helpless migrant workers who under very strict laws share a tiny room with up to 6 people and a bathroom with 40-50 other men. According to BBC many workers can’t afford to eat properly, sustaining on a diet of potatoes, bread and lentils. An average salary for one month, six days a week up to 12 hours a day is £120 with one company paying roughly 30p an hour for overtime. Arabtec is one of Dubai’s biggest construction companies and was fined £2000 last year for an overflow of sewage in the workers accommodation and a lack of water supply in the communal bathrooms causing pile ups of raw faeces. Apart from the appalling working and living conditions some migrant workers are paid less than their native countries and prevented from returning home; a form of modern day slavery.

So whilst the local/foreign residents and tourists in Dubai enjoy the bounties of globalisation with an array of facilities and intercontinental products clearly the losers are migrant workers who are trapped and restricted in a cycle of exploitation. 


Shaafi Sayed and


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