Here, in the world channel, fact can be stranger than fiction when it comes to some of the surreal stories that surface about real estate. Here, terra firma is not solid ground when it becomes a commodity, within that alternate universe known as “the marketplace.” Rather, it is the sand shifting beneath our feet. And like those sands when they are placed inside the hourglass, so go the daze of our lives….
Several years back, someone sent me these photos of the development dream in Dubai. The same people who were reaching for the heavens with the world’s tallest skyscraper, were also trying to design and build an otherworldly new world Levittown, stocked with pseudo-Mediterranean (with a decidedly Byzantine touch) row houses, each with a pool and their own not-so-private steps to the ocean. A ginormous tract of monstrous, monster homes for the wealthy, nouveau-gauche proletariat of millionaires that the booming economy was creating just as fast as it was creating debt.
Here’s the most recent update de-constructing the dubious debacle of Dubai. This has to be the perfect parable for our times. The Emperor With No Clothes, playing King of the Mountain in a No Man’s Land, reclaimed from the sea. The dike holding the economy broke. And an ocean of debt has reclaimed what was once reclaimed. The Trumped-Up, Sultanate of Swat struck out with his grandiose vision of a series of islands shaped like the world, each country and/or continent sold privately, debt by invitation, to celebutantes, the Donalds and other purveyors of the lite-styles of the rich and squamous.