Monday, May 3, 2010

International City Dubai

Sewage floods a road in the Russia and England area of International City yesterday.  
Paulo Vecina / The National

That is a heck of a lot of sewage.  It is hard to avoid drawing the conclusion that a few corners were cut in building the project.

Perhaps, our resident civil engineer/construction expert The Real Nick can weigh in.


the real nick said...

You are mistaken. This is actually the famous development called 'The Lakes' - re-launched by Nakheel in a last ditch attempt at saving their reputation.

On a more serious note, occurrences like this exemplify the problems arising from a brutal free market capitalism where the state absolves itself from as many responsibilities to provide good public services as possible. Dubai's mindset is to reduce public cap-ex to a minimum and simply "enable" the private sector, i.e. leave the individual to fend for himself in all areas of life from healthcare to education to pension to transport - all in exchange for low / no (income) tax. This short-term thinking pervades government and part-government owned companies. It's no surprise then that Nakheel seems to have skimped on the capacity of the sewage treatment plant (STP) - as appears to be the case in this instance, without prejudice, blah blah.

I can picture the scene during the planning stages: Bigger STP to allow for maximum occupation (lots of sharing tenants!) and seasonal fluctuations in usage? Does it "add value"? No, scrap that, let's go for the minimum size...

Abu 'Arqala said...

The Real Nick

I'd like to point out that the process you describe and the faith in the power of the free market to regulate itself are not only articles of faith in my country, but have a well demonstrated record of success.

BP was not required to have an acoustic shut off device on its well by regulation. The Government knowing that the free market would prevent any oil spill.

Nor did BP feel any need to install one. Nor for that matter to purchase any oil spill insurance. Again knowing that in a free market economy bad things don't happen because the market regulates itself.

We have a long history in our great nation that demonstrates the wisdom of this approach from the integrity of our food processing system to mine safety to the health of our financial system.

I'm sure the market will develop a solution in The Lakes. Once residents respond to the incentives being provided, I'm sure there will be a mini boom in outhouse construction.

the real nick said...

;) You are absolutely right.

I can already see mercurial tenants of 'The Brown Lakes' charging other tenants a good fee for scooping up the sewage in waterbottles and discharging them over at the nearby public sewage works. This is classic grass-root development of incentive-based micro level economy - empowering every single individual participant at a base level: the more the local tenants shit, the faster the local cottage industry grows.

Abu 'Arqala said...

The Real Nick

Many thanks.

The developmental possibilities of this event completely escaped me.

A strategy like this is perhaps a whole new form of vision.

When finance at the macro level is constrained, a micro level strategy may be just the thing to get the economy booming again.

the real nick said...

When finance at the macro level is constrained, a micro level strategy may be just the thing to get the economy booming again.

Jokes aside - that is exactly what's needed in Dubai. I heard it again through the grapevine that a new companies law is seriously
being discussed (as opposed to being jokingly discussed for the past five years) which would abolish the local partner/sponsor requirement for most (on-shore)business categories.

I considered and subsequently ditched a couple of start-up ventures because they were too small to justify jumping through all those hoops Dubai puts up for small business. The start-up costs of either having to rent expensive minimum size (!) office space in a free zone or having to subsidise some native lazyarse's luxury lifestyle just to have his name on the company articles made it simply unviable.

If Dubai can pull the finger out and accept that people want to do business here - but not necessarily in cohort with the locals - and replace the sponsor model (with is a stealth 'social' tax in my view) with perhaps a (low) corporate income tax system (like Oman) - I and many others may be happy to re-consider and start something...

Especially with office rents at International City being very low these days - including a berth for my boat right in front of it!