Pride goes before…uh, what was the saying again?

Whatever it is, it seems to have hit some Middle Eastern plutocrats’ paradise or other…

Local police have found at least 3,000 automobiles — sedans, SUVs, regulars — abandoned outside Dubai International Airport in the last four months. Police say most of the vehicles had keys in the ignition, a clear sign they were left behind by owners in a hurry to take flight.

The global economic crisis has brought Dubai’s economic progress, mirrored by its soaring towers and luxurious resorts, to a stuttering halt. Several people have been laid off in the past months after the realty boom started unraveling.

On the night of December 31, 2008 alone more than 80 vehicles were found at the airport. “Sixty cars were seized on the first day of this year,” director general of Airport Security, Mohammed Bin Thani, told DNA over the phone. On the same day, deputy director of traffic, colonel Saif Mohair Al Mazroui, said they seized 22 cars abandoned at a prohibited area in the airport.

Faced with a cash crunch and a bleak future ahead, there were no goodbyes for the migrants — overwhelmingly South Asians, mostly Indians – just a quiet abandoning of the family car at the airport and other places.

While 2,500 vehicles have been found dumped in the past four months outside Terminal III, which caters to all global airlines, Terminal II, which is only used by Emirates Airlines, had 160 cars during the same period.

Bear in mind that this exodus is of the middle-class real estate professionals. Nevertheless, they are an important keystone in the whole structure. Pull that out, and guess what happens? Especially in Dubai, where real estate–high-priced, glittery, not-for-peons real estate–is the chief industry?

Here, let Hanif Merchant–a real-estate developer (or former one, rather), commenting at Juan Cole’s blog, enlighten you:

Currently, Dubai’s economy is causing hardship to lot of people. As developers we are also having trouble with our investors. We have had a lot of cancellations which has caused us serious trouble with financial institutions like banks and other private equity investors.

Our companies like Emirates Neon Group better known an ENG Media has recently filed for first bankruptcy protection in the middle east. Our Ruwaad Holding (owners of the Amazulu project) has gone into a definite tail-spin as investors money has been removed totally.

A lot of investor related fraud has also caused us some serious financial hardships.

Yep, those trickle-down economics work great. Especially when they skip a whole tier.

Just imagine what taking a chunk out of the middle of a building all of a sudden does to the structure. Can’t picture it? Well, as luck would have it, there’s a nice little piece of video showing just such disaster capitalism at work, albeit in metaphoric form:

In this case, the flight is out, not in. But the collapse at the end will be roughly the same, I think.

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