We should not delight in the misery of others, especially not around Thanksgiving. But there are some things that cannot help but make you realize how obvious they were, and, perhaps, how justified. When I turned on the television and saw that Dubai was in financial trouble, I couldn’t defeat the brief feeling of satisfaction, for I knew of some of their most decadent contrivances. They’ve got the tallest building, tallest hotel, largest airstrip, and largest port in the world. But when I investigated further, I found that most of that decadence was just planned. Giant, rotating solar-powered skyscrapers, 33-story tall LED displays, self-sufficient pyramid communities, luxury hotels, and yes – even dinosaur theme parks. As far as I know, these things haven’t materialized, at least not completely. Maybe it’s all that planning that’s gotten them into so much debt, but I doubt it. Just doing an image search for “Dubai” turns up dozens of outlandish exhibitions of waste. From the outside, that looks fantastic, but someone has to pay for all that.
So it’s a learning opportunity, just in time for the holidays. The situation is not unlike a macrocosm of our individual families. But usually we can hold off of getting that multi-million dollar yacht, even if we do splurge on the 50″ LCD TV. There has to be something conceived that even Dubai decided was too fiscally risky to make a reality, like a ruby-encrusted octopus or an elevator to the moon, or a series of islands shaped like the earth…oh, well that one made the initial cut. If nothing else, the point can be made that there’s nothing wrong with having dreams; it’s acting out the really expensive ones that gets us into trouble.