The Rapid Industrialization of Dubai


The rapid industrialization of Dubai has left many countries wondering how they can strategically industrialize their economic systems. I am exploring what constitutes the rapid industrialization of Dubai and how it managed the overwhelming implications on the society. The literature review will provide benefits and sacrifices that a nation should anticipate to incur in the event of rapid industrialization. The process is overwhelming and therefore, demands the use of analytical and systemic procedures to attain optimum benefits. Moreover, since the United Arab Emirates is among countries that underwent through rapid industrialization and plays great role in the world economies, her case studies will give in-depth economic strategies of industrialization to the developing countries. As a student of international relations and a citizen of United Arab Emirates, in my literature review, I am exploring what constitutes the rapid industrialization of Dubai and its implications on the economic, social, political, and cultural aspects of the society.

Although the rapid expansion of industrialization has great positive implications, there are some negative implications as well. This literature review will focus on positive implications on infrastructure, employment, tourism industry, and political stability, as well as negative implications such as violation of human and labor rights, increased pollution on the environment, loss of culture, and uncertainty of the future economy. My literature review aims at studying the strategic industrialization of Dubai economic system and its double implications on the country

The Positive Implications

Industrialization in Dubai started in the 1970s and this has led to numerous benefits including increased economical growth. The social economic and political standard of the country has improved with the development of excellent banking, education, transportation, commercial, tourism, manufacturing industry, and increased employment (Ghanem 260). These frameworks led to the rapid industrialization of the United Arab Emirates translating into great economic benefits to the country.

The trading industry in Dubai started in the nineteenth century with the concession of taxes by the rulers that forced rapid immigration into the country by investors. Later in the twentieth century, the country specialized in the importation and exportation of goods with a major gold business with India and this helped in strengthening the industrial department and in turn, the stability of the country’s economy (Schrage 12). With a very bright vision, the country was able to upgrade the national infrastructure and this paved way for the increased development that is evident today. (Christopher 35). However, some may argue that very rapid economic growth in a capitalist system without sufficient regulation makes the economy sterile, and this kind of economy can easily collapse as in the case of Dubai (Anand 140). Due to impending economic challenges, there is expeditious control over the markets to effectively regulate and maintain long-term sustainability and reduce the wastage of human labor.

The United Arab Emirates government invested about a quarter of its gross domestic product in transport and communication infrastructure. According to Zahlan during the 1970s and the 1980s, the physical infrastructural growth continued to increase unabatedly because the government spent as much as 25% of the country’s gross domestic product in building and improving road networks and seaports ((276). Industrialization efforts organized the transport system within the city to reduce traffic congestion using bridges, floating roads, underneath tunnels, waterbuses, and taxis (Ibrahim 45). The country’s port is currently among the top ten container terminal ports in the world (Nawar 36), while air transport is “ranked among the top fifteen air cargo hubs and among the busiest airports” (Christopher 56). Furthermore, Dubai has embraced and advanced modern technology of communication in extensive marketing overseas and e-commerce thus enhancing efficiency in transactions. These factors have positioned Dubai as a global business hub with an efficient infrastructure.

Unlike other countries, where unemployment has emanated from the current economic crisis, the unemployment in Dubai is mainly due to the qualifications of an individual, job preference, salary scale, and expectations rather than lack of employment (Christopher 65). The tourism industry is expanding exponentially thus attracting more tourists thus creating more job opportunities. Although Arabic and Islamic traditions dominantly influence the culture of Dubai, industrialization has shaped the society in that; there is freedom of religion, liberalization of dressing cord and gender equality (Christopher 67). Various nationalities in Dubai work harmoniously irrespective of their religions. According to Ghanem “Undoubtedly, oil and the federation were the two most important factors in the transformation of the seven emirates politically, economically, socially and culturally, from a collection of subsistence desert sheikhdoms into a federated group of modern city-states” (263). The political system of federations and government policies transformed Dubai industrially.

The Negative Implications

Research studies show that rapid industrialization has negative implications for any environment and society. The negative implications include; increased pollution of the environment, loss of culture, the violation of human, and labor rights and the uncertainty of the future economy. In spite of the governments’ efforts to comply with the international laws of environmental conservation, industrialization still causes inevitable pollution to air, soil and water due to the hazardous effluents from the industries (Smith 41). Increased pollution of the environment will result in a reduction of biodiversity and depletion of the ozone layer, thus affecting the balance of the ecosystem.

Culturally and religion-wise, the rapid economic development has led to changes in the lifestyles of different people. The multi-national cultures have slowly led to the decay of the mother cultures of the society. However, “the country’s rulers are committed to the safeguarding of their heritage against erosion” (Smith 45). To safeguard culture is a futile process since diverse cultures and religions spontaneously interact causing the evolution of the native culture.

The obvious interpretation of industrialization means economic stability; however, critical analysis has proved that exponential growth of the economy is normally associated with economic instability. Economic experts argue that lucrative capitalism and rapid economic growth without sufficient regulation make any economy sterile, and this kind of economy can easily collapse as in the case of Dubai (Anand 140). To reduce the risk of economic collapse the government embarked on the diversification of the industrial sector (Sharafi 8). The industrial diversification into tourism and commercial sectors led to increased job opportunities and employment for both the nationals and the multinationals making Dubai be an economic hub of the emirates region.

Although the rapid industrialization provided diverse job opportunities to the immigrants, the Human Rights Watch has reported that the “government has failed to stop employers from seriously abusing the rights of the country’s half-million migrant construction workers” (2). The claims of workers’ abuses include hazardous working environment, low salaries, withholding of wages and passports by the employers amongst other labor rights abuses but hardly are these abuses highlighted in the literature.


The literature review of the rapid industrialization of Dubai has shown that industrialization is a complex and overwhelming process in terms of its implications. There are both positive and negative implications of rapid Industrialization to a country, and for her to obtain optimum benefits of rapid industrialization; she must employ analytical and systemic procedures. Literature review on rapid industrialization will provide an in-depth view of impending economic, social, political, and cultural implications to a nation that is undergoing rapid industrialization.

Works Cited

Anand, Ravallion. “Human Development in Poor Countries: The Role of Private Incomes and Public Services.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 7.1 (1993): 133 -150. Print.

Christopher, Davidson. Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. Print.

Ghanem, Shibab. “Industrialization in the United Arab Emirate.” United Arab Emirate: A New Perspective. (2000): 260-276. Print.

Human Rights Watch. UAE: Workers Abused in Construction Boom.” Human Rights, 2006. Web.

Ibrahim, Mohammed. The Place of the Free Zone in Economic Development: The Example of the United Arab Emirates. England: University of Durham, 1994. Print.

Nawar, Abdul, “The Economic Role of Free Zones in the UAE.” Economic Affairs Journal, (1998): 30-40 Print.

Schrage, Steven. “Dubai’s Financial Trouble: Warning Sign for the Global Economy?” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2009. Web.

Sharafi, Abdullah. Industrial Development in the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi: Department of Planning, 1998. Print.

Smith, Michael, Asia’s New Industrial World. United Kingdom: Methuen Publisher, 1985. Print.

Zahlan, Ahmed. The Technological Depth of Arab Unity. Beirut: Arab Unity Studies Centre, 1981. Print.

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"The Rapid Industrialization of Dubai." Premium Papers, 5 Oct. 2023,


Premium Papers. (2023) 'The Rapid Industrialization of Dubai'. 5 October.


Premium Papers. 2023. "The Rapid Industrialization of Dubai." October 5, 2023.

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Premium Papers. "The Rapid Industrialization of Dubai." October 5, 2023.