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Out of Our Minds
Sunday, March 27, 2005 1:17 PM
Fueling the $15,000 cognac
Anita Sharpe on Money

Question -- a young woman of which nationality and time period said this? 'When we aren't at school, we shop, we do our hair and we share stock portfolios.' If you guessed an American circa 1999, you would be wrong. The speaker was a 24-year-old Saudi woman quoted today in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about the vast wealth being generated in the Middle East thanks to $56-a-barrell oil. Much of the money is flooding into Dubai, where this particular woman was vacationing. At the just opened Emirates Palace hotel there, guests can enjoy 'bath caviar,' $15,000 cognacs and a 50-inch plasma screen TV in each room -- which run between $5,989 and $12,251 per night.

Isn't it a warm feeling to know, as we fill the tanks of our Hummers, that we are providing so much pleasure?


Troy Worman - 4/12/2005 8:54:56 AM
'Isn't it a warm feeling to know, as we fill the tanks of our Hummers, that we are providing so much pleasure?'

This is tit for tat,right? If you are driving a Hummer, you must be exploiting someone. It's the American Way.

I am continually amazed at how such a small piece of information can inflame such passions.

Nice post!
Martin - 4/12/2005 8:37:07 AM
Bloody good point [Rahul Banta]

Have a look at the graph in this post from another blog - http://www.maximise.dk/blog/2005/01/do-you-buy-champagne.html

And then complain about 'the unfairness of XXX' or whatever again ;-)

We're way to rich to be complaining - if you can't see it for all the trees ;-)
Give this one a read: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060932155/qid=1113309337/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-5059482-7662247
Rahul Banta - 4/3/2005 10:19:01 PM
So, people make money off of barrels of oil. What do you make money from? Selling potato chips that cost how much to produce and how much are they sold for?

Selling colored sugar water that is sold for 10x what is costs to produce?

All this just means is that people are making money off something that we right now need. As oil prices stay high, other, non Middle East sources of oil are discovered and other technologies to fuel/power our world are developed . We will ALWAYS need something to power our world. That is just the way we live and will continue to live.

Let's put this all in prospective people: A barrel of oil is cheaper than a barrel of Evian/Crystal Geyer/etc. water!
Ali - 3/28/2005 10:57:31 AM
Although not from Dubai, I stay here and coincidentally work for a hedge fund investing in the US.

That young lady, being a Saudi is positively part of a tiny minority of her fellow citizens, who as a vast majority are unhappy because of the limited horizons afforded them upon graduation.

And, it is not only the Arab citizens who have made money here, because we have a large population of Europeans / 'Westerners' who have done extremely well thanks to the booming real estate sector and general corporate profitability, both of which are driving the development of ever increasing gaudy ways to spend money.

Can you imagne how skewed the income distribution here must be, considering there are probably over a million labourers (excuse the spelling, I am British) here helping build this city, earning about $4,000 a year?

A lot of us, like you are balking at the higher prices at the gas pump and are only hoping that the increasing bottom lines at companies manage to trickle down to those that need them most.
martin - 3/28/2005 9:56:10 AM
If I may steer away from the ugliness associated with the article and latch on to the oil dollars issue. I'd like to point you all to www.apolloalliance.org. The alliance is a movement seeking to develop a national initiative to create alternate energy sources. In full disclosure, I am a supporter of the alliance and believe we need an Apollo like 'moon mission' on the issue of energy.

Candidly, I'm more disgusted with where my tax dollars are going than what a young woman in the middle east is doing with her wealth.
anita - 3/28/2005 8:44:57 AM
Bob -- Reading through the lines of your post, I think you and I are actually in agreement. My point is that we haven't gotten our oil act together. In the meantime, though, those $15,000 cognacs and $12,000 hotel rooms will help ease the abject poverty throughout the Middle East -- a rising tide lifts all boats, right?
Bob Watkins - 3/28/2005 12:55:55 AM
I'm kinda outraged too, James, but not for the reason you'd expect. This post is a fairly blatant attempt to further demonize the Arab people. Why are we angry, really? Because we can't get our hydrogen act together and reduce our dependence on foreign oil?

For every 24 year old woman trading stock portfolios and vacationing in Dubai, how many other Arabs are living in abject poverty? How's the economy in, say, Iraq right now?

America is already hated around the world because of this administration. Building a few bridges instead of throwing brickbats might be in order. I think all this article is fueling is hatred - and there's already a glut of it right now.
James K - 3/27/2005 6:18:17 PM
Why are we outraged about Saudis getting rich off our addiction to oil? Are we outraged about the wealth we create for the Medellin cartel? Why are we surprised when the global community condemns our relentless exports of Hollywood films, McDonald's hamburgers and other American delights?
Joan - 3/27/2005 6:06:00 PM
Good post. It's healthy to ponder the consequences of our actions as consumers. We make buying decisions every day, and with those decisions comes power. I try to buy locally grown produce, avoid idling in carpool lines and drive-thrus, and favor merchants who treat their employees well. I sometimes feel like a tiny drop in a huge ocean when I make these individual choices. Your post reminds me that individual choices add up.


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