Crow here. You'll have to excuse my little nephew Wrendall but he's had a bit of a shock recently and was only able to describe the essentials of what he'd learned before having to return to the nest. His parents are now stuffing his little beak with worms, insects and other goodies until he recovers.
It seems Wrendall, who is a fine little fellow and a credit to investigatory intentions of the highest order, tried to swallow something larger than his crop could accomodate. As you'll recall, we've been discussing financial shenanigans and currency manipulation in recent weeks. My young nephew decided to see if he could find where on earth the money that's disappeared from your bank accounts, home values and general purchasing power has actually gone. Well, it makes sense that if it exists (which is something I still wonder about but will leave for now) and if you once had it and now don't, it must be somewhere.
Where do the tycoons and CEO's go once they've grabbed as much as they can for themselves? Have you heard of Dubai? I'm sure you have but it's truly outrageous what's going on there and very little news reaches us. After all, it's not our business in any sense of the word's meaning.
"50 skyscrapers rise above the desert city, where thousands of cranes work on $200 billion of real estate projects, according to HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's largest bank. Sprawling to the right are the palace, gardens and stables of the emirate's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum, his wives and children.
"In a ditch near the Giorgio Armani-designed hotel, construction worker Omkar Singh leans on a shovel and wipes sweat from his brow. Singh, 24, went into debt to pay 60,000 rupees ($1,500) -- more than six months of earnings, including overtime -- to an agent to get to Dubai from India. The agent promised eight-hour workdays. Singh says he works at least 10-hour shifts, six days a week. ``I was taken for a ride,'' he says."
The amount and type of construction designed and implemented for the wealthy and built by men like Omkar who has a home and a faraway family to feed is one of the main places your money has gone. Like thousands of others from poorer nations, his passport has been confiscated until he's completed the contract he signed. This is the essence of what's happening in this tiny desert principality on the Straits of Hormuz (as well as in Saudi Arabia itself). There are entire buildings that rotate so everyone gets a changing view; an underwater hotel is being built so you can sleep with the fishes in a real and not mafia metaphorical sense; islands in the shapes of palm trees have beautiful houses and marinas for those who can afford to pay. Under construction and already finished are more islands designed in the configuration of world land masses - I think David Beckham bought England.
The world's tallest building, the Dubai Burj (Tower), at 2300 feet will be ready for occupation next year. It will be 160 stories tall compared to NY's former World Trade Center at 110 stories each.
Millionaires are welcome to live in the country (but not to become citizens) so long as they don't run out of money. You can see why the average tycoon might want to make sure he has more than enough in order to keep on affording the accommodations and entertainments in perpetuity.
The thing that really shook up my little friend Wrendall, though, was hearing that Prince al-Walid bin Talal who owns London's Savoy Hotel is planning an even bigger skyscraper in Saudi Arabia. On a clear day the view from the top will take in the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian Ocean if you have a head for heights. It will be 1 mile high - so tall that helicopters will have to do the major lifting of materials and workers. Sounds scary and that's what's done in poor little Wrendall for the moment. Maybe the rest of you should be happy that your money is being spent on something so impressive as another giant dildo - because you are getting screwed. Me? I'm off to find some worms for my nephew.