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UAE: Land of no-tax and other questions

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Just say no. If you are not willing to be exploited you deserve to starve. People are NOT a commodity, Mo.

 

Not every employer exploits.

I didn't say they were, I said labour was.

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No - that is because they are heavily regulated by such things as the minimum wage laws. Any employer that CAN exploit usually does - see Nike, billions of dollars in profit, can't even spend a little of that money to guarantee good working conditions for their impoverished workers. Adidas, the same, Coca Cola, the same.

 

Labour is something created by people. It doesn't exist without them. Don't understand how you can separate the two.

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No - that is because they are heavily regulated by such things as the minimum wage laws. Any employer that CAN exploit usually does - see Nike, billions of dollars in profit, can't even spend a little of that money to guarantee good working conditions for their impoverished workers. Adidas, the same, Coca Cola, the same.

 

Labour is something created by people. It doesn't exist without them. Don't understand how you can separate the two.

 

Again, nobody forces these people to work. You can't claim employers all have ill intent its a erroneous presumption. Those workers are paid wages which they accept. Chinese government doesn't force safety laws can't blame Nike.

 

Labour is something that is bought and sold.

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Again, nobody forces these people to work. You can't claim employers all have ill intent its a erroneous presumption. Those workers are paid wages which they accept. Chinese government doesn't force safety laws can't blame Nike.

 

Labour is something that is bought and sold.

 

Again - the choice is a false one, to say you should be exploited because you can be is revolting. When the choice is starvation or slavery then how is the choice a free one? You are saying no one has a duty to look after the inherent rights of human beings when they do - power and wealth = responsibilty. Nike has a DUTY to police their lines, they all do. To not so so is to show contempt for the human beings that make the over priced crap you sell.

 

If labour is bought and sold - then so are people. Again, slavery.

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That's just your opinion. Many actual emiratis would love to have the opportunity to speak freely against the government but they can't, as the emirates has a habit of kidnapping political dissenters. But until you give people the right to discuss and debate from all sides, all you are doing is using fear to maintain your family as the head of an out dated and ridiculous ruling system.

 

I highly doubt thats true. Their government provides everything any citizen dreams off and are just, and actually listen to their complaints and take actions quickly. You can openly criticize anything on the national radio as I said. Any issue! Just stay away from the leaders themselves.

 

It's not wholesale democracy per se that I'm advocating, I think the things that grow from the grass roots are the best way. For example, why is democracy so successful in the UK? That's because that's how the country developed over the centuries, and it was built into the system in an organic way. What I am saying is that the stifling of discussion is never a good thing, it creates a closed, repressed, conformist society that can't cope with change or with the will of the people.

 

It isn't, but its also a step they took to please people who were looking for choice, although its quite controlled. The thing is, they are making their people happy, and thats all that matters really from politics really. People vote to get the best person in charge who does good things for the people.

 

Yes. Poor indians. Families. Basically anyone the officer doesn't like the look of.

 

you can actually complain you know. But whos bothered...

 

But then to say that western politicians are theives is just an ignorant a statement - if someone in power wants to steal they will steal. The fact their family beat some other family in a war has nothing to do with it. And the advantage of democracy is that there is always hope. Watch us kick this government out. Will one just as bad be be voted in? Possible. But if this government in the UAE decided tomorrow to begin kidnapping and arresting your family without any charge, evidence or trial, you'd have no choice to deal with it. You can't get rid of them, or dissent. In fact, most of the local society will have bought into your viewpoint that the government is great and will probably agree with the arrests because they are that desperate for stability and having a comfortable life above all else. Where does that leave you or your family?

 

I didn't specify that western politicians steal. But look no further than countries in africa and even the middle east who have democracies and people get to vote. Best example is Lebanon. Wanna know how it works? You get voted, steal as much goods as you can in your span, and then another person gets elected and repeat. What happens when the rulers are themselves very rich and satisfied? They focus on the people, and pleasing them. I'll take the 2nd option anyday.

and they wouldn't do that here ;) The system is just.

 

I do feel the UAE has done some good, definitely, but the modern state is a bit of a disappointment on the global stage: the courting of trailer trash rich people, the building of ostentatious and unsustainable life styles, the way even my youngest cousins are acutely aware of designer labels and the cool places to be and who they can be friends with... when ever I go to Dubai I think it could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn't be in the least surprised. Instead of taking growth slowly and organically a lot of what they've done is superficial too

 

Dubai, or the UAE in general, knows oil doesn't last forever. Thats why they have been working on their tourism bit, which attracts the rich trailer trash as you call them. And how do they attract tourists? By memorable monuments. They created a city of dreams, in a record time. Yes the basis might be wrong, but they have succeeded in making Dubai one of the most famous cities in the world, and nobody can deny that.

 

And we'll have to disagree - the idea that anyone can inherit the idea of a leadership position is something I find absolutely disgusting, and it's something that holds back the Arab world a lot, they really like the idea of one strong ruler who permits stability at any cost. Maybe with the history of the region that's understandable, but I don't think this situation is sustainable in the long term.

 

Refer to my point above about rulers being satisfied.

 

I'm not saying a labourer is bad or shouldn't be allowed, but every human being has a basic dignity that must be protected, no matter what their race or religion or social status. Again, while the situation is better than in other parts of the Gulf it is no where near ideal - the conditions can often be inhuman. While no one forced them to visit it says something about the desperation of their situation that they apply for these jobs in the first place. The UAE has the money to ensure them good pay and living facilities so that these cases are unusual and not the norm, and that is not happening. Just because you can exploit someone doesn't mean you should.

 

This is how business works these day. The gov't has enforced a lot of laws for the laborers rights and the miss treatment usually happens from the private companies who hire the labourers in the first place because of saving costs. Other companies in the world open factories in china and do the exact same thing and even worse, like nike, apple, etc, all to save costs. But at least over here, they have rights, and the right to file a complaint. Over there, people can't do anything!

 

 

 

I'd say you're pretty clueless on what it's like in the West, so spud is right to say that it's a bit silly to get all defensive about the situation in the UAE then give your opinion on the West as if it's the same. I wouldn't say I was clueless though - at least I have first hand experience of a lot of the region.

 

I watch enough stuff and talk to enough people to get a pretty good idea of how things are over there. Now please enlighten me on any other place that treats their citizens like they do over here ( and don't say Qatar, im talking about the west :P ) with their perfect Democracies. And since you have first hand experience living in the west, tell me a country over there better to live in and have a family than over here.

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Lol, I'll try, but can't promise anything. Seriously, it's a compulsion :D

 

You made me post a long and informative reply on here. You're gonna pay for this :cry:

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typical response from anyone who knows nothing about this place, except what the stupid western media tries to portray.

 

I bet you didn't know that a labor worker could sue the owner if hes treated unjustly and in most cases wins? But of course they "forgot" to mention this when they showed you pictures of labor camps from 1970s.

 

and what else is politics for if the governments give you everything you need? Just so you can moan and complain about your personal issues?

Lets do a poll on here or anywhere in the world. Would you rather be given all these benefits from your government, or be given "political rights". hah.

 

Um, what did I say that was incorrect? First of all, I'm not basing my claims on what the "stupid western media" (which, by the way, couldn't care less about the UAE. They're only interested in the buildings. And I think it's a insulting to dismiss Western intellectuals completely like that). I've studied the Gulf states academically. My post was based in political fact. It's called "rentier state theory." A popular slogan during the American Revolution was "no taxation without representation" - the American colonists were being taxed by Britain despite having unsatisfactory representation in Parliament. In rentier states, the logic is, "we're not taxing you at all, so why would you want any representation?"

 

I really did not say anything about the UAE that was one-sided (like your defense in this thread is turning out to be). This is a complex situation. It's great that the UAE can help its citizens with things like college education. But you can't deny that there is something problematic about citizens having no political autonomy at all. I mean, even the UAE government has recognized this and is trying to introduce reforms that get the public politically involved (or so they say, at the very least).

 

What you're saying about the foreign laborers is just incorrect. If you have any articles or research to share that backs up your claims, I would love to read it. I'm not being sarcastic - I genuinely would like to learn more.

 

I have some sources if you'd like to take a look - http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-united-arab-emirates

 

http://www.hhrjournal.org/index.php/hhr/article/view/435/665

 

There's a reason the Arab Spring didn't spread to the Gulf states by and large - the people are comfortable and happy with their lives, happy to be given money to kow-tow to an outdated tribal system of rule. That's up to them, but I don't think I could sell my freedom that easily.

 

Hmm, I don't think the Arab Spring didn't spread to the Gulf States because everyone is content (first, you'd have to define what you mean by "the people.") Remember that these countries have powerful militaries, and since they literally own everything, it's harder for citizens to protest. The international community is also more likely to help these countries defend themselves against protests, because they don't want anything to interfere with their oil supply.

 

Just look at the brutal suppression that happened in Bahrain, which was assisted by Saudi Arabia.

 

what are you serious, you would rather have political rights than have your government give you what you want/need.

 

what are the point of political rights when your government is doing a good job already, you would prefer a government that didn't give its citizens money/wealth just so you can vote?

 

How long will that money last? It comes from their natural resource, oil, which isn't exactly renewable.

 

Look, as I said in my response to M5er - it's absurd to say that you're perfectly fine with no political rights, as long as the cash supply is coming in. That's called selling your soul. What happens when the leaders end up being corrupt or make bad decisions? Too bad, you can't do anything, because you have no rights! It is a crime in the UAE to criticize the government and many critics have been detained and harassed.

 

I understand that not everyone wants to live in a Western-style democracy. But there must be some sort of political autonomy everywhere.

 

It is pointless to criticize UAE for not having democracy, or not allowing voting. These things are considered to be virtues in the so-called democratic countries which really do not hold true to the spirit of democracy. To each their own paradigm. The question should be is UAE system fair and just to its subjects.

The issue is not democracy, but whether citizens have any political autonomy at all.

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Regarding the Gulf States - first of all, the money only goes to the tiny minority of citizens in those countries, all the foreigners who do the domestic labor can just die for all anyone cares. Also, the money is given to placate the citizens because they literally have no rights at all. The reason behind not taxing them is that if the citizens are not paying taxes and instead getting money from the government, they have no right to anything politically.

 

1st part: what do you expect? Its a country. Its not a charity. Of course the money will be spent on the citizens. Might as well give free health and education care for the chinese?

 

and I repeat for the billionth time, the gov't gave them rights, but the mistreatment happens from private companies, and the laborers get to complain if they weren't satisfied.

 

and no rights at all? Please define rights, because saying no rights at all just because they aren't allowed to start political parties is silly.

 

Isn't the whole point of politics is for your voice to be heard so that you get better living conditions? What if you get fantastic living conditions in the first place? Again, goes back to my point of just moaning and complaining because you can. Its stupid.

 

 

 

 

 

Here you go. Thats whats so wrong about your first post. as for the rest of your post, read my responses through out this whole thread. I can't be bothered to repeat myself a million times.

 

and I'm not even a UAE citizen. I get none of what they get. I just live here, happily.

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and no, I don't think this place is perfect. There are certain things that could be a lot better, but alhamdillah, can't deny this place is awesome in so many ways.

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Again, nobody forces these people to work. You can't claim employers all have ill intent its a erroneous presumption. Those workers are paid wages which they accept. Chinese government doesn't force safety laws can't blame Nike.

 

Labour is something that is bought and sold.

 

Are you serious? :eyebrow:

 

Mo, most of these massive corporations are able to pay their employees much better than they currently do. They're just trying to get as cheap labor as possible. If you are actually making the case that they cannot afford to do so and would have to then lay off workers, then you should try and find statistical support to say that there are widespread layoffs that coincide with raising minimum wage - or better yet, do you have any data to prove that there were massive layoffs when minimum wage was first introduced?

 

I know of a number of cases in my city where people who were once being paid minimum wage ($7.50), working unpaid for several hours each day, and without contracts, then protested and eventually won contracts, living wage ($11.50), and compensation for all of their work-hours, and none of them were laid off. Quite the opposite- because they couldn't be exploited for unpaid labor, the organization ended up having to hire more people.

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You seem to completely ignoring the concept of human capital, the fact many Gulf states aren't older than 40 or so years and are still building infrastructure. Government policies (in the UAE at least, I know the Labour ministry in Saudi is doing better now with Adel Fakieh in comparison to before) are encouraging work and resourcefulness more than ever. The fact they practically hand out degrees to citizens (as in no financial barriers), and pay such high subsidies for wages and other such things simply indicates the building of a work culture in the region.

 

Yeah, yeah, they’re trying to develop human capital, agreed, but that doesn’t explain them paying these inflated wages, fact is, if you want to measure human capital development, you should look at the numbers of citizens employed in the private sector, the private sector does not accept the crap that the public sector is welling to take, national movements ‘emiratization’ and ‘Suadization’ are trying to change the employment structure. However, the way I see it, these movements are only trying to decrease their countries’ dependency on Arab and Asian workers. They treat an Arab worker coming from Jordan or Lebanon like a bad thing for their economy. I would have been ok with that if it weren’t for their continued fascination with ‘foreign expertise’, god forbid they give that up. Also, as a person who supports free market policies, and thinks negatively of labor unions (You orthodox, you :grin:) you should be able to see the negative side that setting quotas for the number of national workers per company and over-protecting their rights has. Wages should depend on productivity, not on your government’s willingness to mollycoddle you. Again, the wide spread rent seeking behavior.

 

 

In the Emirate of Dubai, petroleum and natural gases accounts for less than 6% of GDP. The same holds true for Emirates with less oil, such as RAK and Fujairah (who are both growing fast this year).

 

And of course these countries would have done little to nothing without oil, neither would the American West in the Oil booms or Gold rushes of the 19th century.

 

Yes, Dubai is doing great, cheers to Dubai, it’s a very pretty place, but hey, why don’t we look at the sectors in which the development is happening? Real estate (That’s good, infrastructure and pretty buildings, except that, it’s not really productive, real production is manufacturing and agriculture, not buildings, sir.) and services (Which can be good or bad, depending on the structure of the economy. If it doesn’t support agriculture and manufacturing, then it’s just ‘empty growth’)

 

Just because an economy is resource dependent, it isn't a bad thing (in fact it can be a good thing, giving nations an advantage in trade). Considering that GDP doesn't really take into account human capital and looks only at the 'worth of items in the economy' it’s a pretty bad indicator. Remember, the Dubai International Financial Centre is probably younger than MM so of course this country won't have extensive sectoral changes within the past two decades as a whole nation. It is however constantly improving at a rapid pace (like it isn't awesome enough already).

 

In our case, it is. Being oil dependent was a curse, buddy. Not because of the oil, per se, but because the money that’s been brought by the oil has been awfully invested.

  1. The relationship between oil prices and economic growth is still very prevalent. That doesn’t exactly go hand in hand with the goal of achieving economic stability. It also increases our dependency on external forces. Just look at what happened during the 1980s, and we still haven’t learned our lesson.
     
  2. Arab investments are not efficient (We still fall in the last quarter, in terms of our investments’ efficiency) Infrastructure is not efficient.
     
  3. Also, onto Gulf investments, they were mainly directed towards western markets; inter-Arab investments can barely be mentioned. These investments (‘Sovereign wealth funds’) are not playing the role that they should have, mainly because the west wants you to invest in their markets, but only on their terms. We’ve got big bucks there, but absolutely no voting rights. Besides, if you’re interested in real development, you wouldn’t stress such investments that much, people who support these investments (And those who support those billions of dollars arms deals) hardly have pure intentions. Just look at the losses that we suffered during the last crisis.
     
  4. It’s true that Arab economies are still very young, but just compare our productivity with that of South Korea and Argentina (Countries with much less resources, and with economies as young as ours) the largest 9 oil producing Arab nations have barely half the productivity that these countries have (and the rate goes even further down for non-oil Arab countries). In fact, during the 1960s, productivity per capita in Arab countries was higher than that in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. Whereas in 1992, our productivity fell to half theirs.
     
  5. Bottom line: Weak country + oil = tendency to become over-centralized and captured by special interests. So, no, Dubai is not awesome enough.

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Um, what did I say that was incorrect? First of all, I'm not basing my claims on what the "stupid western media" (which, by the way, couldn't care less about the UAE....

 

I think the reason your post got such biased responses is because UAE citizens are tired of others constantly telling them how crappy their country is. It's kind of become the default setting. In this thread there was one throwaway comment about the place not having a taxation system and for that to provoke the response YEAH WELL ACTUALLY THE LABOURERS ARE TREATED LIKE CRAP ACTUALLY when it's unrelated to what was previously being discussed is odd. It's not news - everyone knows. Everyone knows it's bad, too. And for that to come up so unexpectedly means people automatically take more hard line responses than they would otherwise. I am deeply sympathetic to Emiratis. When you talk to some, they really feel they are welcoming of all nationalities and allow other people to practise their religions, are not enforcing any stringent dress codes, allow foreigners to buy property etc etc. All they have to do is look across the border and see Saudi where none of these things are true, so it's galling to always be told, "that's not good enough." While I don't think their country is anywhere near perfect, it's tiring to have to constantly defend yourself.

 

Hmm, I don't think the Arab Spring didn't spread to the Gulf States because everyone is content (first, you'd have to define what you mean by "the people.") Remember that these countries have powerful militaries, and since they literally own everything, it's harder for citizens to protest. The international community is also more likely to help these countries defend themselves against protests, because they don't want anything to interfere with their oil supply.

 

Just look at the brutal suppression that happened in Bahrain, which was assisted by Saudi Arabia.

 

The only country in the region with a military to speak of the KSA - that's why they sent troops over, Bahrain doesn't have the man-power. Where else has a powerful military? Egypt. Morocco. Syria. That doesn't stop people - if people truly want freedom they will try for it. But in the Gulf, with every physical need met, it's easier to not rock the boat. The military actually owns very little in Saudi Arabia, what they do have is a lot of political sway with the monarchies who rely on them for protection. Furthermore, there is a sizeable portion of the population that really like stuff the way it is. They've never wanted for anything, and political autonomy is not part of their history anyway so they don't feel they are missing out.

 

How long will that money last? It comes from their natural resource, oil, which isn't exactly renewable.

 

This is why Saudi is doomed. UAE on the other hand is trying to develop other industries, the big one being tourism. Unfortunately they've gone about it in a way I find distasteful, turning the country into some kind of tacky holiday destination for the super-rich and the chavvy, but at least they had the foresight to not rely on oil.

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The thing is, they are making their people happy, and thats all that matters really from politics really. People vote to get the best person in charge who does good things for the people.

 

But I thought earlier we were agreed that in the long run it's probably not good for people to have everything handed to them on a plate?

 

I didn't specify that western politicians steal. But look no further than countries in africa and even the middle east who have democracies and people get to vote. Best example is Lebanon. Wanna know how it works? You get voted, steal as much goods as you can in your span, and then another person gets elected and repeat. What happens when the rulers are themselves very rich and satisfied? They focus on the people, and pleasing them. I'll take the 2nd option anyday. and they wouldn't do that here ;) The system is just.

 

Again fiver, that's not really all that different to the countries in the Gulf - the only difference is you can't vote your thieves out at the end of their term. People who are rich very rarely make the happiness of others their concern. Instead the they replace themselves with people just like them when they're done, they don't have to answer to anybody and no one can hold them to account. And bless you fiver! The UAE arrests political activists where it finds them - it arrested 35 men just at the end of July for being political dissenters. Their whereabouts are not known. It is illegal to insult the rulers or the flag, ensuring that everyone stays nice and mindlessly patriotic. Talking about democracy can be seen as illegal as it's seen as being dangerous and unstable, and Emiratis are in jail for wanting political reform. They are a minority of the population in my experience of Emirati society, but that doesn't mean their ideas should be repressed and they should essentially be kidnapped. None of these cases were reported in the mainstream Emirati press. If it wasn't for the internet their families couldn't even make their cases known.

 

 

Dubai, or the UAE in general, knows oil doesn't last forever. Thats why they have been working on their tourism bit, which attracts the rich trailer trash as you call them. And how do they attract tourists? By memorable monuments. They created a city of dreams, in a record time. Yes the basis might be wrong, but they have succeeded in making Dubai one of the most famous cities in the world, and nobody can deny that.

 

True, and Dubai has been forward thinking in not relying on oil like other places. However - did you know that the region has been inhabited since 5000 years BC? That there is stunning wild life and sea life on their coast? Dubai has an interesting history and personally I would prefer to pay as a tourist to see these things instead of Kim Kardashian (sorry I keep bringing her up - I just found out a few days ago what she's famous for! :o) It's not even the buildings I find annoying - they have an interest in architecture and have some amazing feats of engineering, that's for sure, but they haven't just attracted trailer trash, they actively invite them over and give them free stuff etc etc. It's ironic that homosexuality is illegal, yet they allowed Lindsay Lohan and her girlfriend into the country p it was well known they were together, but I guess it doesn't matter if you're rich and trashy.

 

This is how business works these day. The gov't has enforced a lot of laws for the laborers rights and the miss treatment usually happens from the private companies who hire the labourers in the first place because of saving costs. Other companies in the world open factories in china and do the exact same thing and even worse, like nike, apple, etc, all to save costs. But at least over here, they have rights, and the right to file a complaint. Over there, people can't do anything!

 

It's true the UAE has made some moves for making things better for workers, but with the amount of money they have this widespread problem could easily be wiped out and the people conducting such practices be made examples of. But wasta works as much in the UAE as it does any where else, and the laws are often not enforced. It should RARE to find such a story, but it is not. I hope things continue to improve.

 

I watch enough stuff and talk to enough people to get a pretty good idea of how things are over there. Now please enlighten me on any other place that treats their citizens like they do over here ( and don't say Qatar, im talking about the west :P ) with their perfect Democracies. And since you have first hand experience living in the west, tell me a country over there better to live in and have a family than over here.

 

It depends on what you think is important for a family. If it's material wealth, then Dubai is a great place, and it's also very safe. It is also a bubble though that numbs your mind and teaches conformity. Personally I'd bring my kids up in their very early years somewhere that is very safe, but move them somewhere that encourages independence and free thinking a bit more later on, where they interact with people of different views, religions and so on.

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Found this about the UAE:

 

Low on the Democracy scale, but relatively high on the anti-corruption scale, which is good:

 

http://www.worldaudi.../corruption.htm

 

Higher than spain, italy, and (of course) pakistan. New Zealand's looking good though - also it appears to be some kind of paradise on earth:

 

NewZealand_1400697c.jpg

 

LETS ALL MOVE TO NEW ZEALAND.

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