Microscopic country, macroscopic projects.




Having been splashed by seemingly endless oil wealth has turned most of the Middle Eastern countries into something like the hands of  Midas – as though everything it ‘touched’ might turn out into gold. Dubai is not hesitant for a complete, skyscraper-lavished ‘plastic surgery’ of its own, building high-rises almost as plentiful as those in Shanghai or any other new-world meccas else. Saudi Arabia is spending hundred billion dollars on the same thing – constructing utopian-like satellite cities, many of which are later uninhabited. (and one prince even once complained that the government only focuses on ‘building building’, not ‘nation building’)

And Qatar is the doing the similitude as well. Having succeeded in inviting numerous Ivy League universities to set up branch campuses in its futurist-inspired Education City, bought the global voices through that newly-born ‘panopticon’ we later know as ‘Aljazeera’, and rebuilt the entire capital, Doha, through a mushrooming number of skyscrapers worth hundred billion dollars, this country, endowed with the world’s 25th largest oil reserves and 4th largest gas reserves, has never truly discovered its own limits of satisfaction. Indeed, it is planning even more: the most expensive World Cup (scheduled in 2022), perhaps if not in the whole planet, the entire solar system may fit in.

The emirate is not poking fun at the media: 220 billion dollars have been prepared to ensure the success of the world’s largest football competition. Whereas the ‘center-of-the-universe’ sensation, 2008 Beijing Olympiad, had had all the world leaders dumbfounded with its 50-billion-dollar series of projects to modernize, and to ‘redecorate’ the capital notorious for its excessively abundant air pollution.

And this 220 billion dollar thingy? That could be similar to Carlos Slim Helu and his two replicants accumulating the same amount of wealth, and unbelievably, a bit higher than the overall GDP of Nigeria in 2011 (with a population of 170 million, its GDP level currently stands at 200 billion US$), or 60 times more costly than previous World Cup in South Africa. Like Aladdin fairy tale were emboldened into reality.


See 5 things around the planet that may be worthy of such tantalizing amount. Click it here.