DP Blog
Labor 2006-04-23

Many inhabitants of our planet have nothing more to offer than their physical labor and time. This is precisely the valuable commodity Dubai is exploiting to feed its construction boom. Human Rights Watch notes UAE uses perverse and abusive labor practices against its migrant workers—whom comprise nearly 90% of the workforce in the private sector. In addition to being denied basic rights such as freedom of association and rights to collective bargaining, migrant workers face extended non-payment of wages, the denial of proper medical care, and squalid conditions in which most live. Some argue the jobs granted in Dubai are far better than what was offered in their respective home countries; and indeed the opportunities are greater given UAE’s skyscraper boom. However, can this type of perverse human exploitation be justified in the 21st century? Can a city that attempts to become the business hub of the world through modernity and multiculturalism, utilize modern day slavery to materialize its growth? Yes. It can, and it will. Dubai is labeled a model for change due to its planning, execution, and astronomical growth. This growth is materialized through the re-construction of the social caste system, whereby Pakistani/Afghanis are used for their labor, Iranians/Egyptians are used for their investment, Europeans for their management, and Americans to act as tourists. Business discrimination is not only traditionally accepted, but encouraged. The egalitarian movement is being reversed in modern day Arabia.

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