Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Final Frontier of Absurdity

For those that believed Dubai to be the final frontier in human hubris, The Guardian has put together a handy profile of holiday the ultra wealthy, the flagship projects being the 'space hotel' and new 'artificial countries'. The latte of these described as: "billionaires may soon be able to buy their own artificial countries – built in international waters on oil rig-type platforms – where they can indulge in their dictatorial fantasies."  These artificial countries in particular seem to have taken a page (a-la the failed, 'World Project') from Dubai's already particularily bulbous book of projects that only those with far too much money and far too little sense might initiate.

The Guardian article continues:
Peter Thiel – who co-founded PayPal and who was one of Facebook's earliest backers – has revealed that he wants to create communities that would be run according to extreme laissez-faireideals. According to Details magazine, he wants to build artificial islands – based on oil-rig designs – that would be a "kind of floating Petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage and few restrictions on weapons." A billionaire's dream venture, in other words.

Indeed, the desire to build ones own floating oil-rig country strikes one as equal parts Machiavelli,  PT Barnum and Ayn Rand at her most adolescent.  The opulence and sheer wrong headedness of these endeavors has now left Dubai looking sheepish by comparison. Alas, with Dubai financially on the brink, how can they ever fight back against the opulence on offer.  Is a solid gold pyramid suspended above the desert via maglev too much to ask?  Come on Dubai: the world needs you to rise to the challenge.

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