Perhaps I was too generous.
In the previous post, I noted <$Ad$> an article in Tuesdayâs Financial Times about how U.S. sub-contractors in Iraq are importing cheap labor from South Asia rather than hiring locals. While noting how bad a sign this was, I credited some of the quotes from the article which said part of the reason for this was security concerns.
Then I got this email from a regular TPM correspondent who is an American expat living in the United Arab Emirates.
He's got a lot of experience with the contracting business in the Middle East. Heâs been an urban planner / project manager for more than thirty years and about half that time has been in North Africa and the Arabian peninsula (Kuwait, Saudi, UAE, etc.) â¦
Josh: I just read your FT blog - to a certain extent I think this rationale of the "Iraqis can't be trusted" is a bunch of hoo ha.
UAE: 20% of the pop is local. Of the 80% of the expat pop, fully 75% are subcontinenters. Why? Dirt cheap, much cheaper than the Arabs (imported or otherwise).
Of the international construction firms here, they all use minimum of 80% subcontinenters (i.e. the Halliburton and Bechtel types take all the money).
Bottom line: wages are a function of the price of living in the home countries. The price of living for subcontinenters in the subcontinent is nothing. E.g. I pay my Indian maid USD 300 month of which she supports a family of 10 people in Bombay and still manages to save probably 50% of her salary here in Dubai.
When you prepare city plans you have to do population studies first, e.g. existing and forecasted pop, breakdown of population by M/F and ethnic mix, et al. Why? as an example - the low wage Indians are in construction camps w/o dependents- I need land for construction camps for them, not houses; they also do not own cars so I don't need to factor in their "trips" as car trips, I factor them in as bus trips since they are bused everywhere, etc.
Think about it: wouldn't you rather have Moslem Arabs that speak Arabic and know the culture (particularly the religious culture) than Hindus??
I don't buy this "Iraqis are dangerous" bull#$%@; its all about money.
None of this is pretty â¦