Globalization in the United Arab Emirates

free essayGlobalization is a powerful process in the world culture, economy, and politics. It has changed the global surrounding both positively and negatively. The main characteristic of globalization is that it blurs the boundaries between countries, transforming them into a great socio-cultural community. Consequently, there are no specific limits between cultures, economies, and social institutions (Paul, 2014, p. 209). The reason is that globalization creates common goals and values for all societies, especially for the capitalistic countries. This phenomenon is characterized by rapid changes in the electronic mass communication, technological progress, urbanization, and the formation of a new post-capitalistic economy. The unity of the global emergence is a result of interaction of local entities with global structures. As a consequence of globalization, there a new standardized model for the world community criticized by many philosophers has been constructed.

In this context, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a special place. It is oriented on the global economy, transporting oil to the most powerful countries. Due this fact, this state has become a symbol of globalization concentrated in Dubai and gathering representatives of all possible cultures. This essay will explore economics, politics, and culture of the UAE. These ones are the integral elements of a single picture of the world globalization, characterized by the formation of new possibilities in the field of the transnational development.

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The UAE’s economy is characterized by rapid and intensive temps of the development, despite that fact that its economy is one of the youngest in the world. Godwin (2006) states that the United Arab Emirates is classified by “the World Bank and the United Nations as a developing country with a high income, which refers to the personal income level of UAE citizens” (p. 4). The liberalization of economy has caused the restriction of protectionism and, thus, prepared the world trade for a more free economy. As a result, the tariffs have significantly reduced and eliminated many other barriers to sales of goods and services (Held, 1999, p. 204). The liberalization measures have led to the intensive movement of capital and different factors of production. Globalization has brought some benefits to the country. Therefore, in this way, the UAE can locate the product at any valuable point in the world. Besides, the stock markets are available in different countries. Therefore, it gives a rise to the transnational trade, particularly in the exportation of oil. On the other hand, the UAE has become dependent on other countries and their economies. However, it is not a serious problem for being a leader in the global economy.

The economy in the UAE is based on the foreign investment and also on the export of goods. Globalization has enabled the country to significantly expand the market to distant areas. Japan is on the first place transporting about 25 percent of all goods in the state (Godwin, 2006, p. 8). Among other export countries are South Korea, Thailand, and India. The UAE exports such products as natural gas, dried fish, and re-exported goods. Globalization has also affected its import. Therefore, the UAE has started importing goods from Germany, Italy, the US, China, India, and Japan.

The exportation of oil has formed the United Arab Emirates as the most influential country in the world global economy. The oil transportation has completely changed the history and economy, transforming it from a poor state to one of the richest ones in the whole world. Due to oil, the country has ensured a high economic indicator. Globalization has helped quickly and efficiently transporting oil to different areas of the world (Dunham-Jones, 2009, p. 18). This phenomenon has created the conditions for cooperation between countries, thus triggering a large economic network for oil. At the same time, it has helped to control oil prices without any speculation on the stock markets.


Most political forces in the Arab region are not democratic. The country is not an exception in this list. The authoritarian regime dominates in the UAE. It can be described as a feudal federation. The structure of the government is based on the principle of family control. Therefore, the power is passed from a father to a son. The Council consists of the heads of seven emirates (Godwin, 2006, p. 7). This body determines the general policy of the UAE. The Council of Ministers is subordinate to the Supreme Council for carrying out this policy (Kenneth, 2010, p. 2010). In addition to the definition of foreign and domestic policy, the Supreme Council has the right to revise the principle of government of the state. It also approves a nominee for the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

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The UAE government increasingly comes under the influence of globalization. It is especially noticeable in the fact that the population of the Emirates is involved in economic and political life. The democratic process has aimed politicians to rethink their radical methods, which are present in Islam. Hence, many traditionalists interpret globalization as a negative process. The reason is that it destroys the tradition of feudal power. Nevertheless, oil determines the basic nature of the policy. It is related to the fact that “the relationship between oil wealth and the monarchy is a crucial one and enforces the concept of the rentier state” (Kenneth, 2010, p. 209).

Globalization has also influenced the foreign policy in the UAE, especially in Dubai. An important place there is covered by the issue of the general Arab unity. The country has shown “how through innovation, strategic investment, branding, and openness to globalization, has been able to transform a backwater, oil-poor Arab city-state into an international metropolis” (Hvidt, 2011, p. 87). The fight against terrorism is also one of the most important global tasks in the state. The Emirates cooperate with the countries that have been affected from the international terrorism, exchanging the information and discussing the problems that can cause the recruitment of terrorists (Shiyab, Duval, House, & Rose, 2010, p. 82). Moreover, the UAE holds an active position in the fight against trafficking in human beings and money laundering.


Globalization has especially affected the traditional culture of the Emirates, adapting it to democratic standards. The UAE’s culture strongly depends on Islam. Therefore, it exists in context of religion, i.e. “In terms of religion, there is a long history of Islamic tradition within Emirati society and a high degree of patrimonialism, popularly considered integral to the legitimacy of the UAE” (Kenneth, 2010, p. 209). Since Islam is a rather traditional religion, the culture is characterized by some kind of intolerance towards minorities, the discrimination of women, and censorship. Moreover, the UAE has been criticized “for human rights violations regarding discrimination in the workforce as strikes and workers unions are banned” (Godwin, 2006, p. 4). Accordingly, globalization forces the country to change its traditional views in order not to lose tourists and its place in the international cultural context. Recently, there have been many free newspapers and channels expressing their views regardless of censorship. Women can receive education and, thus, take part in the political life. Moreover, the UAE has formed quite a strong female movement, which is increasingly pushing for female rights. Despite this, there are many laws that block the development of culture. However, a rather rapid globalization changes it from a closed to more flexible sphere.

The UAE’s architecture is a main symbol of globalization, which is concentrated in Dubai. The architecture fully reflects the trend of this phenomenon. Therefore, it is unified, complex, and modernized. The culture of Dubai has been built in the desert. Therefore, the whole architecture is an example of high and very expensive postmodernism (Inhorn, 2012, p. 286). Global networks and real estate developments are engaged in post-industrial architecture conditions. It is a consequence of globalization, human mobility, and digital media (Dunham-Jones, 2009, p. 17). Hence, the architecture has implemented the core of globalization, where every element represents the same aesthetical principle from other Western cities. In this case, the youth is increasingly falling under the influence of westernization. The lifestyle of young people does not differ from those of the American or French ones. “Both enjoy Western movies and electronic games, both follow sporting events and in local and international arenas” (Godwin, 2006, p. 11). However, the traditional agricultural regions are still far away from the westernization. Therefore, they live according to their archaic traditions and rituals.


It must be concluded that globalization is developing rapidly affecting all countries, including the UAE. Due to this phenomenon, the United Arab Emirates expands its market, transporting goods to the most remote regions, including Japan, Southern Korea, and India. In addition, globalization has allowed integrating into various economic corporations, creating in this case the world economy. Besides, this process has changed the traditional model of policy, where power belongs only to one man and his family. The democratic trends increasingly have influenced the Arab trends. It has become much more open to its residents than several years ago. The educational reform has played a special role in this way. The reason is that many politicians were educated at Western universities. The traditional Islamic culture has also eroded because of westernization. Culture is increasingly becoming more democratic, notably in education, women’s rights, and censorship. Thus, the youth in the UAE does not differ from any other youngsters of other modern states.

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