Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success

Dubai is a remarkable success story. From its origins as a small fishing and pearling community, the emirate has gone from strength to strength, having established itself as the premier trading entrepot of the Arabian Gulf and, in more recent years, having boomed into a massive metropolis of some two or more million people, most of whom are expatriates engaged in an increasingly diversified economy that has become synonymous with startling and innovative architecture. Following a detailed historical background, Davidson’s in-depth study demonstrates how Dubai’s pioneering post-oil development strategies were implemented against a carefully managed backdrop of near complete political stability, despite the lack of democratisation and genuine civil society. He then addresses the problems that may surface as the need for sustained foreign direct investment encourages far-reaching socio-economic reforms, many of which may affect the ideological, religious, and cultural legitimacy of the traditional monarchy. He also analyses Dubai’s awkward relationship with its federal partners in the United Arab Emirates, before highlighting some of the hidden costs of being the region’s most successful free port-namely its attractiveness to international criminal fraternities, the global black money economy and terrorist networks.

Publishers’ websites: Hurst & Co. / Oxford University Press (previously Columbia University Press)

Table of contents: available here

Excerpt (chapter 3 – ‘The Foundations of a Free Port’): available here

Reviews and features:

New York Times – review

Financial Times – review

Los Angeles Times – review

New York Review of Books – review

New Statesman – Books of the Year (2008)

London Evening Standard – Books of the Years (2008)

Foreign affairs – review

International Affairs – review

The Historian – review

Politics and Policy – review

Political Studies Review – review

Journal of Regional Science – review

Market Watch – review

Spiked Magazine – review

Angry Arab – review

Columbia Daily Spectator – review

Al-Akhbar – review (Arabic)

Al-Quds al-Arabi – review (Arabic)

Time Out – author interview

Times Higher Education – book banned