The small Persian Gulf Emirate of Dubai has moved from pre-industrial to
industrial to quasi-post-industrial service economy status in less than half of a century.
Dubai stands as a luminous Arab version of Western capitalism and now serves as a
model for diversification, development, and investment to other rentier states in the
region and beyond. The Dubai macroeconomic model has accomplished and far
exceeded all of its stated goals. As one of the few Arab economic success stories of the
twentieth century, the subject of how Dubai reached this point, the sustainability of its
model, and the implications its success may have on other actors has received little
academic scrutiny. Very few expect Dubai's model to disappear any time soon. This
thesis explores the relationship between capitalism and democracy and then describes the
basic structure and origins of 'Dubai Inc.', as it is now famously called, with focus on
two key components of its macroeconomic policy; special economic zones (SEZs) and
sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). Is there a link between democracy and capitalism? If
not, is undemocratic capitalism dangerous or preferable?