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The Wages of OilParliaments and Economic Development in Kuwait and the UAE$
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Michael Herb

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453366

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453366.001.0001

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The Consequences of Absolutism

The Consequences of Absolutism

(p.107) Chapter 4 The Consequences of Absolutism
The Wages of Oil

Michael Herb

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the consequences of absolutism when it is combined with extreme rentierism by focusing on the political economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It first traces the origins of Dubai's economic growth before discussing the citizens' responses to the Dubai model of growth. It then explores the following arguments: in the absence of a strong parliament in the UAE, the ruling families become, at least potentially, the dominant local capitalists in their emirates; Dubai's ruling family had a particularly strong incentive to pursue economic growth; Dubai's success was later imitated by the ruling families of other UAE emirates; citizens of extreme rentiers benefit less than their rulers from unrestrained economic growth and bear more of its costs. The chapter concludes by drawing some brief comparisons with the other Gulf absolutisms. It shows that the Gulf absolutisms have diverse approaches to the opportunities and challenges of rentier labor markets.

Keywords:   absolutism, extreme rentierism, political economy, United Arab Emirates, Dubai, economic growth, Dubai model, ruling families, capitalists, labor market

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