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CEO, President of



In 2004 I was in Dubai and I witnessed about 30 towers being simultaneously built in a single area, at a rate of 5 stories per day. I felt some sort of otherworldly fear, as if I was watching a science fiction movie. I was also dying to find out how all these buildings were made, since the local population is not over 1 million and the wealthy Indian and Asian immigrants who found their paradise there are not over 1 million either. Of course, we are not talking about the other 2 million employed in constructions, who live in completely different conditions than those offered in the luxurious skyscraper apartments. The Dubai construction frenzy does not stop here : In the past five years, construction companies built three giant palm trees in the sea, the trunks and leaves of which are pieces of land, as well as a representation of the globe with all its continents. These constructions are impressive and beautiful when viewed from above. They were achieved with embankment fillings with billions of tons of sands that were carried with special ships from the depths of the shallow Persian gulf. At the time, it seemed as if these people had nothing better to do with their money, so instead of spending it rationally and based on what would benefit society as a whole, they decided to spend it around on imaginative constructions loosely based on illusions of grandeur which culminated in the construction of a skiing rig in the middle of a mall. It felt as if something was not going well and one could only wonder who would ever go to Dubai to ski when just a few miles away, camels walk around in the desert in temperatures that reach 45 C degrees in the shadow. And suddenly, the bomb went off. Dubai is going through a huge financial crisis. The cosmopolitan W Hotel in Manhattan’s Union Square, owned by Istithmar World Capital of Dubai, was auctioned yesterday for 2 million dollars, while one of the good villas at the Dubai palm trees costs from 6 to 10 million dollars. The owner Dubai company had bought it for 282 million dollars in 2006. The hotel’s new owner, Lem Mezzanine, stated that it will take over the hotel’s debt, which amounts to 171 million dollars. Another Dubai company which owns 73 hotels released a statement that if it doesn’t make it until the end of the year, it will auction its hotels at very low starting prices. Last month, Dubai World which is owned by Dubai’s government stated that it will be able to cover its debt, amounting to 26 billion dollars, but the markets were not convinced and the stock market took a huge plunge. Things look tragic but they hide speculations related to pulling the carpet underneath a business group that made immense openings as if there was no tomorrow. In one of Dubai’s most successful malls, hosting 180 stores, 93 closed over a 10 week period. It is reasonable to wonder if the world’s tallest building which stands at 285 meters will ever be completed, or whether it will remain unfinished, a reminder of man’s vanity who doesn’t build for other people but only for the building itself and to break a record. Of course, the tragic burden falls on workers who based their family planning on their salaries which now seem to be directly endangered. This causes huge amounts of stress which do not only affect the person’s homeostasis, but also their survival. It is well known that stressful factors are directly related to one or more threats. Threats nowadays are not only numerous, they are also extremely intense which makes the need for stress control imperative. If employees do not survive their immense work stress, we will witness post crisis societies trying to face their salaried members’ immense post traumatic stress, which also entails huge financial costs. This phenomenon was usually witnessed after large scale or long wars. Nowadays, we witness it as a result of globalization which has brought down frontiers between nations that used to be shielded behind their own currencies and financial policies, while now they are left exposed to absolute homogenization and unconditional interdependence. Under that scope, we have only witnessed but a small part of the financial crisis’ vicious circle, mainly in regards to social and post traumatic stress.


- Published in “INSURANCE MARKET” magazine