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Monday, January 4, 2010

The Tower of Babel

History has a way of repeating itself...

Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

This article on CNN highlights the inauguration of the (latest) tallest building in the world. The newly-renamed Burj Khalifa is a cloud-scraping 828 meters high - that's more than half a mile tall.

There are several interesting facts in the article about the previously-named Burj Dubai, starting with the new name. The majestic tower is named after Khalifa Bin Zayed, the president of the United Arab Emirates -- and ruler of Abu Dhabi, the Emirate that let about $10 billion out of Dubai's debt balloon.

Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans pays a cool $10 million a year for the naming rights to that edifice. Not that having his name on Dubai's latest paean to capitalism was the sole benefit for Sheikh Kalifa, I'm sure.

Having lived in Dubai, I was there for the birth of the construction boom in the mid-to-late 90's. My wife and I lived literally a stone's throw from the site of the first real showpiece on Dubai's construction skyline: The Burj al Arab.


Nowadays, after the Palm, the World, a new golf resort sponsored by Tiger Woods and countless other high profile projects, one has to wonder about the wisdom of reaching so relentlessly for the stars. I have applauded the Maktoum family - the rulers of Dubai - for their foresight and industry in turning Dubai into the business and tourism hub it has become. However, there has to be a limit doesn't there?

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.

What do you think?


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