The discovery of oil and gas in the mid-sixties certainly jump-started the United Arab Emirates, but petroleum isn’t the only explanation for why Dubai has become the world’s fastest-growing city. It’s the attitude towards business. The free zone concept began back in the seventies, and the lack of taxation and restriction on trade did what none of the protectionist policies of most nascent economies could. It gave investors of all kinds confidence.
So every time I’m tempted to criticize this place for being the Las Vegas or Atlantic City of the Middle East, I have to remember that forty years ago THERE WAS NOTHING HERE! What Dubai lacks in charm it gains in possibility. I’ll be lucky to be around in twenty-five years, but Dubai certainly will, and it will be two or three times the size it is now!