American Entrepreneur, have you heard of Dubai? It is a capitalist paradise! A veritable Galt's Gulch of the Gulf. A playground for the wealthy built on cheap foreign labor, oil, tourism, and real estate speculation? What could go wrong!
Well apparently now that times are a bit less flush, and they're starting to enforce some of those laws that used to not apply to Brits and Americans and Germans and Australians. "It's all a bit scary," one would-be exploiter says to the Washington Post.. Did you know they're locking up bankers? Bankers!
Among those who have been locked up are a JPMorgan investment banker; American, British and other foreign property developers; a German yachtmaker; and two Australians who worked as senior executives of what was to be the world's largest waterfront development. The gigantic project had been launched by Nakheel, the crisis-battered property arm of Dubai World and builder of Dubai's signature palm-tree-shaped resort islands.
You're arrested for writing one bad check, and suddenly you're being locked up without charges and tortured for months. Crazy!
See as long as the repressive theocratic sheikdom let Dubai be run like Vegas, no one gave a shit that it was, uh, a repressive theocratic sheikdom. Washington followed it's usual "democracy's ok, but if you can manage capitalism without it than more power to you, brother" line. Turns out luxury hotels do not inexorably lead toward freedom! Though the various shanghaied sex workers and menial laborers could've maybe explained that back when it looked like things were just fine.