Pablo Fetter (Dubai’s economic success story, Islam’s enlightenment, the art of killing a virus)

  • 00:04:01 How Dubai feels during the Ramadan?
  • 00:08:37 Why Dubai now gives citizenship to foreigners and allows companies to own real estate and corporations now?
  • 00:16:29 Why Dubai’s regulations seem to actually help businesses and individuals instead of hampering progress constantly?
  • 00:24:41 Why (the talk about) socialism is so popular in the US and how it contrasts with Dubai?
  • 00:33:03 How Dubai’s social norms are liberalizing right now? Is the ‘Islamic enlightenment’ happing in Dubai right now?
  • 00:48:32 How Dubai handled COVID.
  • 01:01:22 How Dubai is developing a business case for vaccinations.
  • 01:10:10 Has the world caught another virus of low productivity growth? How did it start? Is Dubai a place that can teach us to grow quicker?

You may view this episode on Youtube – Pablo Fetter (Dubai’s economic success story, Islam’s enlightenment, the art of killing a virus).

Pablo Fetter is an engineer, investment professional and education entrepreneur. Pablo’s been a globetrotter all his life and calls Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East his home.

Big Thanks to our Sponsors!

ExpressVPN – Claim back your Internet privacy for less than $10 a month!

Mighty Travels Premium – incredible airfare and hotel deals – so everyone can afford to fly Business Class and book 5 Star Hotels! Sign up for free!

Divvy – get business credit without a personal guarantee and 21st century spend management plus earn 7x rewards on restaurants & more. Get started for free!

Brex – get a business account, a credit card, spend management & convertible rewards for every dollar you spend. Plus now earn $250 just for signing up (Terms & Conditions apply).



Torsten Jacobi: So yeah, Ramadan is a big deal right in Dubai. It’s really, is it still observed so you can’t eat when the sun is out until the sun is gone? Right? That’s the idea.

Pablo Fetter: Yeah. So obviously, Dubai is a very, very, very multicultural city with a, you know, 95% of the population are foreigners and 5% only are locals, Emiratis. So that’s, you know, 20 times more foreigners than Emiratis. That’s unprecedented. Barely any other place in the world has this kind of ratios. So you, you know, you have the whole world in a city. And in terms of religions, obviously, Islam is a very important religion. But you have here, perhaps, perhaps even a majority of Hindus, more than Muslim. To be honest, I don’t know the statistics, but the number of Hindus and Muslims must be comparable. Around about 50% of population in Dubai comes from India. But obviously, India is not 100% Hindu. So you’ve got a lot of Muslims in India as well. And Muslims in India would tend to, would be more, more, would have more affinity to come to Dubai. So the, you know, in terms of the religions, I would say there is a kind of a fair split between Islam, Hinduism and Christianism. However, obviously, the official religion of the country is Islam. And consequently, Ramadan is respected and followed. And the whole, the whole country changes when Ramadan starts. So it used to be, so it goes in, in, in ebbs and flows. And this is something that I would like to touch in other, in other aspects in other dimensions of, of life in Dubai. But there were years where the tradition of Ramadan was enforced in a more strict way, such as that restaurants that wanted to serve food during the day would need to get a special license. And then hence the government made it more difficult so that majority of restaurants would close their Ramadan during the day and serve in the, at night. So obviously, for those that don’t know Ramadan, you’re supposed to fast during the day fasting, both in terms of food and water, so that you don’t eat when the sun is out. And then when the sun goes down, you break the fast, what is called iftar. And then the city comes to life, everybody goes, eats, and then the whole life occurs during the night, basically. And then during the day, you have a kind of a slow pace of everything, of work, of, of, so working hours are reduced as per labor law. And, you know, the whole, the whole life changes. This year, I guess, because the government is trying to support businesses to ameliorate the impact of COVID, they have said no licenses required, all restaurants are allowed to serve during the whole day. And pretty much all the restrictions that we were used to having before. So, even licensed restaurants before would have to have a black curtain in front of it, so that if a Muslim would walk in front of it, would not be tempted by seeing the food being served, right? And that has been removed as well. So you walk around, all the restaurants are open, they cannot serve outside, they have to serve inside. But otherwise, it feels this year, as opposed to previous years, more like if you were, if you would be, say, in a Muslim neighborhood in London, right?

Torsten Jacobi: Yeah, I find this quite amazing. It seems like the UAE is quickly moving towards a path I think that most of us didn’t really foresee. So one was the Abraham records or accords, so the opening up towards Israel. And then, no, I think Israelis are able to officially go to the Indian Arab Emirates, which was kind of an unofficial business before. From what I’ve seen, correct me if that’s wrong, there’s citizenship now that’s offered to foreigners, that the foreign ownership rules, or foreigners can actually own a whole company or a piece of land. And it seems like this big change of food in Dubai, it seems like it’s moving into, you know, more like a Singapore style global metropolis. Is that triggered by just cultural change and by realities on the ground? Or is it will be out of money? We need to get more money in. So we relaxed the rules.

Pablo Fetter: Right. Well, first of all, I’m impressed how well informed you are. So indeed, there’s been last year in the middle of the pandemic, we were, I think, out of the lockdown, but still pretty much in the pandemic, must have been in late summer last year, 2020. A number of rules of liberalizing many aspects of life here in the UAE, not only in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. By the way, the UAE is the union of seven Emirates that came together in 1971. Actually, six came in 1971 and another one came a couple of years later. But seven Emirates, one of which is Dubai and the other well known Emirates is Abu Dhabi, where the capital is. They have, because they came together only in 1971 and previously were kind of separate states called crucial states, a protectorate from the UK, from the British Empire. And they retain a lot of independence. So there is a common army, there is a common currency, there are some common laws, but a lot of legislation is done, all the economy, all the business is done at the Emirate level. So for instance, I am a resident of the Emirates of Dubai, have a Dubai visa, and all my rights as a resident are linked to, obviously I can go to other Emirates as well, but all my resident rights are linked to my residence in the Emirates of Dubai. For instance, when it comes to vaccination, we will come to talk about that. My vaccination was linked to, I had the right to get a vaccine in Dubai. I couldn’t go to another Emirate to get a vaccine because I’m a resident of Dubai. Anyway, the Emirates have come together and agreed to liberalize quite a few things which were traditionally seen as odd, so to say, in the international concert of nations. If you come from the west and you come to the UAE 10 years ago or 13 years ago as I moved here, you would say, this is weird, right? These things include, as you mentioned, the right to own a company as a foreigner that was limited before where you could only own a minority of a company up to 49% and the 51% of the company had to be owned by a local Emirati. Now, business thrives here and there are lots of foreign owned business which are very, very successful and they all have operated using a workaround to that rule of 51% ownership by local whereby the local would in the euro own 51% of the business, but there would be a side agreement whereby 51% of the profits, he wouldn’t be entitled to 51% of profits. He would be entitled to a payment which is negotiated on a private basis, right? This is a place where capitalism has really thrived and we’ll come to talk about that in more detail. That’s one rule that has been lifted or it’s been announced that it will be lifted. The actual implementation of that is occurring for pretty much the entire economy, but a few strategic sectors that include oil and gas, include airlines where the government wants to keep an eye on and keep the control. But otherwise, before it used to be more difficult as a foreigner to own 100% of your company, meanwhile, over the course of the last 20 years or so, that’s one of the reasons why that explains the gigantic boom we’ve had in Dubai over the last two decades. One of the key factors for that has been the opening of so called free zones, which is a concept whereby the government says determines that a certain neighborhood, arbitrary, an area of the city between this road and this road and this road. This road, you have this square here and there, foreigners can own a company as long as that company operates in a certain sector. Let’s say an internet company or let’s say a design related company or let’s say a media related company. Then a foreigner can come, establish there, own 100% of the company. In some cases, you even have for the so called DIFC, the Dubai National Finance Center, you even have English common law within the boundaries of the DIFC. So you walk 500 meters in one direction and the other and then you cross without just walking across the street, you’re walking from an Emirati legal system into the British common law system without noticing. This is obviously not for criminal offenses, this is only for commercial law, but companies can, based in that DIFC free zone, can elect to operate within the British common law system, which is very attractive for many companies. So that has been established over the course of the last 20 years or so, that has been a great success. And now they basically said, the government has said, well, that has been a success, so let’s expand that to the entire country. So basically the free zones with the exception of the strategic sectors will apply to the entire country.

Torsten Jacobi: Yeah, I’m sorry to interrupt, but it’s almost like the business in the leadership wants to encourage business. It’s not like what we see in California or the New York state, where you have a leadership that does everything in their power to make business possible. That’s kind of in okay with the populace, which is really strange. And I compare this always with the state of Florida in the US. Florida has great leaders, people who are very, they seem very honest, and they definitely help business as much as they can, and in terms of what regulations they put forth. But the people, that’s another story of Florida, like it’s hard to find someone you would, it’s difficult to find a kind of leadership in the common populace of Florida. And I feel in California, for instance, is the opposite. You have a lot of people who are great entrepreneurs, a lot of people who have a lot of business experience. But the populace in the government is completely, completely idiotic. I mean, when you say the word regulation, it only means they make something that is easy right now, just complicated, and bureaucratic, and useless. And so the word regulation has become, when we think of it in the US, it’s always, it’s terrible, and it will make everyone worse off. But it seems like the Emirates is one of the few places in the world, I know this from Germany too, even duty, it’s very efficient bureaucracy. It kind of just tries to mess with you. It seems like in the Emirates, at least in right now, they seem to use regulation to make everyone slightly better off, which is a really rare case.

Pablo Fetter: Well, 100%, I would like to tell you an anecdote that just to give you a sense of to what extent this country is all about business. They say that you get to know your wife when you divorce her, right? And you get to know your siblings when it comes to distributing the state of your parents. Well, I think that you get to know what a country is about in a time of crisis. And obviously, we had the perfect crisis last year with COVID, where here in Dubai, we are kind of in the center of the world, connecting the largest international airport, connecting the entire world, hundreds of flights a day to China. When COVID came up, the government reacted very quickly. And as it turned out in hindsight, very effectively, locking us down, almost China style, very, very, very strict during a brief period of time to make sure that the healthcare system would cope with the initial wave of the virus. And then with the progressive release, meanwhile, we are pretty much back to normal. But the first, you know, the first lockdown, those two months or so, where we had a very strict lockdown, that had a, that was a gigantic shock to the private sector, obviously. And here, you know, the private sector is what drives the economy. And I happen to, you know, I’m the CEO, I run a company. And so I had to, fortunately, I was in the position of having to make sure that our business survives during the crisis, right? And I was absolutely impressed by what the government did here, which as far as I know, is unprecedented. And this is what they did. So literally a couple of days after the lockdown started, the Ministry of Labor came out with an addict that said, basically, companies have a carte blanche to do whatever they need to do. The already very business friendly labor law of the country is, I don’t want to go into the details, but basically lift it. Private companies do whatever you need to do, right? So that was, for me, absolutely crucial to make sure that our business survives, right? And we tried to do, you know, as much as possible to protect our staff as well. You know, we have hundreds of employees. But we could go into a conversation with the employees and say, well, look, this is a situation here now. We need to make sure that the business survives. So this is what we need to do. And things would, I don’t want to be specific about what we did in our business, but kind of the range of options that you have, what was to either terminate employees at relative ease, which you can do in this country anyway. So this is a higher fireplace. But you can also negotiate salary reduction, salary pay cuts. You could even put people on unpaid leave. And, you know, you could do all sorts of things that would allow a business in a completely unexpected exogenous shock as such as this to make sure that you survive, right? So that was, I thought I was really impressed at that quick response from the government, giving businesses the freedom to do it, knowing that that will have an impact on the population. But otherwise, you know, that if that wouldn’t have happened, many businesses would have not survived. In the West, what you had in many countries in the West, where, you know, governments would print money like there’s no tomorrow, use that freshly printed money to either, you know, line the pockets of consumers so that many consumers ended up having higher discretionary incomes during the pandemic as before the pandemic, or, you know, subsidizing companies using, you know, kind of dubious criteria on who gets what, right? And that has been very criticized in the US as you very well know, you know, those companies have, you know, higher lobby budgets, ended up getting more money usually than others. So anyway, ended up being a mess. Here, they basically said, dear private companies, you do what you need to do, right? And we’re not going to support you with money, but we support you with a regulatory environment that is conducive, conduct, you know, that helps you with, so that you, you know, you can do whatever you need to do, right? So I was impressed by that.

Torsten Jacobi: Where’s your compassion, Pablo? I’m joking. No, I mean, what you, I think this is a rare honesty that you show is that, you know, there is this image, and the US has moved, at least in its public perception of our capitalism works quite into, I don’t know, the late stages of Eastern German media propaganda, I feel, that’s not true everywhere. But if you look at mainstream newspapers, the idea is kind of that, that empathy is the only thing we need. So capitalism basically is needed to support a basic lifestyle, but it should be, you know, we hear these words everywhere, equity, equitable. And then we, we, we shouldn’t fire people just because it’s this event, we should have them in the company. And then, you know, it all sounds like socialism, whenever, whenever, this is obviously more a talking exercise is not what’s on the ground, like there’s no label, there’s no changes into label those in the US, we basically have no, no such thing, besides a basic protection, so you obviously can hire and fire people, and that’s, that’s hasn’t changed over, over the course of the pandemic, or the so called pandemic. And I felt what, what’s, what’s rare, and it’s gotten more rare here, but I think it’s changing again, is that people speak up for, you know, just this, this self fulfilling prophecy of capitalism, that if you select like evolution, the businesses that are most able to do their job and not just pump them full of cheap loans, but you, you let them compete and select the ones that are actually the best of what they’re doing, because they’re cheaper, maybe because they are more, more efficient, maybe because they have better customer service, this is a much better recipe. And it’s a bit in public perception, it’s come under out of siege here. And I feel like maybe the battle in PR at least has been lost in the US. And I’m glad that you, you saw how it’s spoken about this. It is better to go through this crisis, save some companies or let them save themselves. And then, you know, once it comes back, rehire and have them as really healthy companies, healthy balance sheets, and go from there. And this is on a, I think on a federal level, especially in the US, where we feel where we act very socialist, where the Fed acts like a big socialist control agency. I almost think like people feel we have enough money, we don’t have to compete, like we don’t have an enemy right now, right? There’s China a little bit, but we don’t have a Russia to compete with. We are so rich, we just print another 5 trillion and we’re all going to be fine. And this is a really strange world we are in.

Pablo Fetter: So, so I, I just, just to comment what your, what you said, half jokingly, on compassion, right? I think that a competitive environment in a way forces you to be compassionate, right? Because the, I, you know, running a company, I need to be able to keep my stuff, because there’s going to be a world after the pandemic. So I have to treat my stuff well so that they will, they will, you know, at the time when, when, when, when, when the economy comes back, I will have my, my best stuff out and, you know, they won’t be leading to another company because they felt that they were not treated fairly, right?

Torsten Jacobi: So the argument is the capitalists exploit people and they kind of invent boundaries so people can’t leave, right? That’s the argument. I’m not saying, I don’t believe it as it’s bullshit, but that’s the argument that you create these, these ghettos, mind ghettos, so to speak. So you can exploit people for lower than what they should, for a lower price than what they should get because you still make money, right? So, so why don’t they run more money? So you don’t deserve anything as organization. And because you do this, that’s, you exploit people, so to speak. And if you change that, then labor is what kind of, that’s, that’s kind of the modern labor theory. Labor is like a conscious sense. It’s the modern.

Pablo Fetter: And that might, that might very well apply to, to, to certain sectors that have different, you know, competitive dynamics. And, you know, in, in, in my business, in education, retaining the stuff is something that is highly valued by all stakeholders. So, so, so it is, it is, it has a high, you know, high level of importance to be able to retain, to retain stuff. So, so that we have, you know, even if I wouldn’t care about the people, which, which I, which I do, but even if I wouldn’t, right, purely from the business perspective, I would have a motivation to, to be able to retain the stuff and, and, and hence do, you know, behave in a way that maximizes my retention. Exactly. So, and, and, and also the, what it comes to the competitive environment, you know, in, in my business in particular, if we, if we don’t treat people well, they will leave because they will have options elsewhere. So, so that in my business in particular, I can say that the, you know, clearly you, you, you don’t need a moral layer to, to drive your decision making, or an ethical layer to drive your decision making, because the business itself justifies it. I still have that moral and ethical layer, but the business, purely the business would justify being, you know, compassionate for your stuff, because you want to retain, you want to retain them and, and you don’t want them to leave.

Torsten Jacobi: But here’s the problem. If you, if you say that, say we have a separate moral layer, and all the businesses around here, they, they, they are slave drivers, right? They literally, they mistreat all their employees. So let’s assume we only see Dubai, which again, isn’t true. But let’s assume we only look at Dubai, and everyone around you is a slave driver, and you are just a slightly better slave driver. Does that make you morally superior or not? Right? That’s, that you can come up with, with like a caricature of that picture. So the incentive to treat people is there, but the question is, but is it, is there like a moral, moral minimum we can, we can apply? I don’t actually know, right? So that’s the argument people make with slavery. And we’re just talking to Caitlin about this. We, about slavery, because we could, because we had machines, but we had slavery for 2000 years, nobody cared about it, right? And then we suddenly had the technology to replace manual work, and suddenly, oh, we feel really bad about slavery. But 2000 years before, nobody cared, right? So I find this very convenient, very convenient, and we are kind of there with animals now. So we’re almost close to having, you know, protein that we can grow in, in the lab. And then we say, Oh, yeah, these four animals. And I mean, it’s been going on for like 30 years, probably. Yeah. So this sounds very convenient to me.

Pablo Fetter: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I’m, I’m, I feel a little bit in shaky ground to talk about morality. And obviously, it’s not my intention to put myself in, in any, any, any, any scale there. The point that I wanted to make is just that oftentimes the invisible hand of the market does work. And the more you try to manipulate that and set boundaries to, to, to the freedom of people to express their themselves either as, as employers or as employees, the more you end up with distortions that might create a, you know, a short term gain. But over the long run, you end up with a, with a mess that, you know, from, from, from what I read, what you’re saying, you know, you have the feeling that, that the US is embarking in that, in that, in that path, right? So the US, you know, the the US, which used to be the beacon of freedom and an individuality. And, and, and that is succumbing under, you know, those, those well intentioned, I’m sure well intentioned moral arguments, but which end up having such bad, such, you know, bad consequences. Because of the what the economist Frederick Bastiat used to call, you know, there is what, what you see, what you don’t see. So you have the, the, the immediate effects of, of, of, of a policy or, or of a decision. And then all the, you know, a long tail of, of, of, of not, not necessarily immediate, not necessarily very clear, clearly connected consequences, which end up making the, the whole thing actually not, not, not, not really overall, not really a positive decision.

Torsten Jacobi: Well, right now, these are certainly just mind games, business on the ground, doesn’t change much. There’s obviously a tech economy that runs slightly different, but they are monopolies and they can kind of do whatever they want, right? They can just redefine business, but it’s in their small sector. Once they’re not a monopoly anymore, they’re being taken by the invisible hand again, so to speak. But it’s definitely, it’s something that, that is stretching that, that, that format of capitalism of John Locke and, and Adam Smith that we used to, maybe it wasn’t so outspoken. And that’s also my question with, with Dubai. There is a lot of institutions in the US that have accumulated over the years that kind of have in big social values and they come out of mostly on Scotland of Edinburgh, 17th, 18th century, and somewhat just brought in for the constitution and then we bake these values into these institutions. And I mean, we, we, we, we just lived with them for the longest time. We didn’t really explain what’s in there. We just, okay, this is the law and you have to abide by it. And I’m like, so, but, but what if the whole assumption is wrong? But that’s all just theoretical. Don’t worry about it. It’s all good. And I think it is, but it’s not explained to anyone. Maybe it doesn’t have to be, but now people have time and the money and the resources to ask for, to have, and ask questions. And is that also a stretch in Dubai when you, you know, a lot of places are expressively in the Muslim world, expressively based on Sharia law. And Dubai is going all the way, you know, there’s, we could, there’s so many examples in the Quran, and we don’t have to take these old books, literally, I don’t encourage anyone to do that. But if we take the typical Orthodox interpretation of the Quran and see Dubai, isn’t it quite a stretch on people like a little worried about Sharia law, you’re talking Sharia law, but also how the society is developing. So it is, you know, the influx of tourists at the, the people on, on, on the beaches, literally. If I’m, you know, very traditional, I grew up in the village, I don’t know, Pakistan, come to Dubai and see, this is not a Muslim country. Not like it is so far away from Muslim country that I can even imagine. A lot of people would say it was also about Christianity, same, same problem, right? But Christianity for some reason has been going through this two or 300 years ago, more or less.

Pablo Fetter: Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s a very interesting point. And just to close a circle to the comment you made, I don’t know, 10 minutes ago, regarding the, the liberalization that Dubai or the UAE is introducing, two of the most interesting areas that got liberalized are related to what you just said, which are first, the right of cohabitation up until, to be honest, I don’t know whether it’s been already enforced, it’s been announced, whether it’s been implemented in law or not, I don’t know, I haven’t followed that, but it’s been announced last year that for the first time, cohabitation will be allowed, which means that, you know, up until then, or perhaps now, whenever the law is implemented, it was not allowed for unmarried couples to live in the same, in the same accommodation. And, and that was, you know, an offense, right? So the police could knock on your door at midnight and find out that you were, you know, together with the, with the woman that is not your wife, and that would be a legal offense. That will be allowed going forward. So that’s one. Second, it sounds a liberal. It sounds like something, you know, I mean, obviously the state should be staying out of people’s bedrooms. Number one, and number two, a lot of places have those regulations. And I know there’s a lot of rumours against homosexual sex, but it’s not enforced. It’s basically, it’s there, but it hasn’t been anything enforced in decades, probably centuries. It should go away, but I wouldn’t stress about it. Was it actually enforced in Dubai? No, no, that’s a great point. It was not. I mean, I personally have been here 13 years. I don’t know of any case where that has been enforced. There’s been a couple of cases of kind of that came up in the press that were, you know, very kind of sand newspaper material, so to say, where say a husband was cheating on his wife. A wife found out. She found that she followed him so that he was getting into a hotel or somewhere with another woman called the police. Police went there. Who’s this woman? Both ended up in jail, right? You had these cases. It has not been enforced unless there is somebody that kind of triggered the whole thing, right? But even that is going to go away now, right?

Torsten Jacobi: It sounds like it’s going to follow. That’s how the place used to run, you know. Someone would snitch you out in your blog, and only because they wanted your apartment or because they wanted your job and they would find something to snitch on you. Yeah, that was like the modus operandi. And it’s not good. These things should, I mean, if you have an authority, they should stay away as much as possible. I mean, this freedom from coercion, it’s just, it’s so necessary to human development. I mean, obviously, the matter of the people is coercion, right? So, but it’s definitely a different viewpoint. Everyone has it up and that you can trigger it as a jealous vibe or husband. That’s pretty crazy.

Pablo Fetter: That was the case, but that is changing, right? And the second point that is changing related to kind of the display being religious versus secular is regarding alcohol. As you know, alcohol is considered haram in Islam, i.e., you shouldn’t have it. And the selling of alcohol is highly regulated in the UAE. Every Emirates has a, you know, slightly different implementation. But, you know, here in Dubai, you have, you go to a supermarket, there is no alcohol that you can buy there. You need to go to a separate liquor store and you have to have a license that requires a certain process to obtain. You need to get from the entity that is sponsoring your visa, which might be your employer. You need to get a non objection certificate for that. You need to, obviously, you need to be non Muslim, right? If you’re Muslim, you’re not entitled to get a liquor license. And the whole process, you know, takes a week or so, costs some money. It’s a little bit of a hassle. And then you have to go to special liquor stores that charge you an outrageous amount of money for anything alcoholic. And from what I hear, and I don’t know, I don’t have reliable sources to this, so it might as well be an urban legend. But from what I hear, the Dubai Duty Free, which is the duty free shop of Dubai Airport, is one of the biggest outlets of alcohol in the world. Because when you come into Dubai, you can buy alcohol in duty free, entering Dubai with no license. By the way, next time you come to visit me, you have to please bring in some alcohol. I’m coming next month, by the way. Oh, fantastic. Well, I’m looking forward to having a beer with you. So that, long story short, that was just the preface, that is being lifted. So that is being lifted. So for the restriction to need a liquor license will be lifted, or has been lifted, I’m not sure whether it’s been implemented or not. And I think that that is the first step towards eventually having something like, you know, in Turkey, where you can buy a beer in a supermarket, right?

Torsten Jacobi: Pablo, we were talking about how a lot of people say the Enlightenment changed Christianity into what it is now with all its problems. There’s a lot of problems involved. We kind of lost this connection with God. We lost this ability to really strive forward. We lost a lot of inspiration that scientists had just to find out where God is. And there’s a lot of things that, especially in the last 52 to 100 years, are being associated with Godlessness. I don’t know if this is fair. In the first place, I’m not a special religious, but I do believe there is some utility to religion. And people are kind of curious, is Islam in these very progressive places like Dubai, just going through the same phase right now? And will they come up with like a second intellectual revolution like Islam had in the ninth century, eighth century? Or is it something people rather not talk about? It’s becoming more liberal, but please don’t tell anyone.

Pablo Fetter: Right. Yeah, that’s an amazing question. And I’m not sure I have a clear answer to it, but let me give it a try. So I think that it’s clear that in the West, religion has become more and more what I think Richard Dawkins, if I recall correctly, calls the God of the gaps, which is basically a thousand years ago, God was responsible for everything seen from perspective, from the perspective of mankind. So if it were rain, it was God. If there was an earthquake, it was God. And then, you know, 60, 50 years ago, we discovered that actually continents float on a sea of magma and that earthquakes are caused by the clash of tectonic plates. And so God lost a job, right?

Torsten Jacobi: Well, I was not that fair. We just moved to the level higher. So God is always what we can’t explain. And it gives us this ability to not be put down by this, right? So we now say it’s quantum mechanics or whatever is behind quantum mechanics. So there’s always places left.

Pablo Fetter: So the argument of the God of the gaps is to say the gap is becoming as science evolves and is able to explain many things that previously were explained through religion. You know, God, the responsibility scope of God is reduced to things that cannot be explained by science. And then people express their beliefs in, I mean, this is for, you know, for enlightened people that believe in science, so to say. But as this guy, what’s his name, the grass titan said, the beautiful thing about science is that it’s true, whether you believe it or not, right?

Torsten Jacobi: So that’s probably true about religion too. But that’s true about a certain religious belief too, right? It is to an extent true for the believers, even if you’re not a believer, right? For them, it’s true. It’s their reality for you. It’s not true. So science, yes, but I mean, science is also being replaced by the next wave of science in the next 50 years, right? Think about all the iterations of gravity.

Pablo Fetter: No. So I think that the scientific principle is something that is based on evidence and that is based on proof and the fact that as opposed to, you know, in the religious scheme of thinking where, you know, you might very well accept exceptions. You might say, yeah, God is good, but, you know, a lot of bad things happen. But okay, these are exceptions. And there are, you know, you try to find workarounds to explain those. In science, if you find one example that disproves your theory, and you have a million examples that prove the theory, the theory is disproven with one, right?

So that is an exception. Yes, well, I don’t, yes, okay, but I agree with what you’re saying, but I don’t know if the implications are really that different, because we kind of see science as this new God, right? The atheist sees science and technology as your new God. That’s the San Francisco religion, so to speak. And they associate a lot of things that we would typically prefer in another religious belief, they now are moved up into that level. You still believe, you just, you move your belief into a different wording, into a different value system, I think. Yeah, yeah. So that’s a big rabbit hole. But, you know, just to close the loop on the point you said, initially, regarding the, you know, Islam, and the way that religion is part of life here, and how the UAE or Dubai specifically is dealing with that tension between modernism and religion, right? So I think that clearly, this is a place, as we said at the beginning, that is driven by business and has a very strong ambition to become a hub for science. Clearly, this is already a hub for business. It’s become, you know, in terms of a sector that, you know, very well, airlines, you know, biggest international airport in the world, even though this is a relatively small city. And in other areas, we spoke in the last podcast about how Dubai has become, or is, you know, becoming more and more a hub for technology, for startups. And I think that the government has clearly shown a strong commitment to make Dubai a hub for sciences as well. A few symptoms of that intention are the fact that, for instance, if you are a scientist, you get a so called golden visa here, a 10 year visa, which otherwise, you know, if you’re a normal citizen, non scientist, so to say, you get a two year visa. It’s relatively easy to get a visa in Dubai, you just need a job, or you can set up your own company, relatively easy. But if you come as a scientist with credentials, you get a 10 year visa, right? So that is clearly, you know, an effort from the government to incentivize the development of the sciences here. Also, the whole thing, another example that comes to my head is that the whole handling of the pandemic, right, has been clearly science driven, clearly. So the scientific methods have been applied, clearly our leadership has looked at what works and what doesn’t work. And they have implemented whatever works in other places, boom, and let’s do it, right? That’s a very, very, I won’t talk about the vaccine, but it’s believing the science is something that has become a character in the US. I don’t know if you ever followed that, but believe the science means we do everything that isn’t science, and then we protect science. That’s what it means here. It obviously hasn’t been really at force, but that’s kind of what it means by now, which is ridiculous. Yeah. Yeah. Well, so I mean, I find it kind of amusing. And by the way, I’m going to the US next week. So I’m going to see it with my own eyes, but… Which place are you going to? Which state? My son is graduating in Pennsylvania, so I’m going to go to the East Coast, fly to JFK, and then attend the graduation in Pennsylvania. And I’m, you know, I’m used by all this discussion about that, all this politicization of wearing masks, as if wearing masks would curtail the individual freedom. It does. Sorry? It fully does. Now, the argument you can make is it worth it? And is this invasion of privacy, is one of the strongest invasions of privacy in 200 years, is it worth it? And I’m probably with you, it is, but you’ve got to admit it’s an enormous invasion of your own freedom. You can say the same about wearing clothing, right? That’s another thing. I mean, it’s not just the mask thing, right? There’s lots of other rules, and we kind of have come historically to a decision, and nobody finds them anymore. But with the masks, it definitely is an argument. Arguably, if you follow science, right, and there is, I’m not an expert in this, if you have a different opinion, I won’t be able to discuss with you in detail. But from what I heard from Reliable Sources is that there is enough scientific evidence that shows that the humidity, the area of humidity caused by the wearing mask leads to the mucus system in your body to be able to preempt the virus better than otherwise. That’s one. And also, when it comes to spreading the virus, obviously, having a physical barrier to preempt it for me, that’s very clear. You don’t need science. You don’t need to make experiments to do it. That’s very obvious for me. So, and if you follow science, you can say, well, actually, wearing clothes, it might be a cultural thing, and you might want or not want to see people naked in the streets, right? But what do I care? What do I care? But when it comes to getting the virus from other people, I do care about that, right? But you’ll get it anyways. You’ll get it anyways. The only way is to protect yourself with really proper equipment that’s at minimum an N95. I’m not going to get it anymore because I’m vaccinated now. Well, here’s the problem. Even if you’re vaccinated, these all these rules still apply even for the people who are vaccinated. And yes, we don’t know enough what the vaccine actually does. And I’m with you. But the argument that this is not a huge invasion of our personal rights, I don’t buy this. Now, is it worth it? I’m probably with you. It is worth it because it’s a relative sense and it can protect a lot of people. Does it protect people a lot? It’s not my experience. In my experience, it seems to be, and there was just a study coming out today, it really doesn’t matter how far away you are from people, you sooner or later get this thing and it kind of rolls through the population. And fortunately, we didn’t notice in March, right? In March, it seemed like we get ones and a half the population dies. And it didn’t happen that way, which is really fortunate. It could have been that way. We could have been just all the half of the population would have been that by now. That absolutely is possible. But I don’t think wearing mask may make any difference. It will make any difference. It slows it down a little bit, but it still rolls through the population. You can’t do much about it. I wish you could. So the good thing about this discussion is that the country, the UAE here made the call that wearing mask is a tradeoff worth making. And they said, you have to wear masks. And if you don’t, you’ll face consequences. And the consequences are huge fines and potentially further, you might end up even in jail for not wearing mask. So I’m not so sure I want to come to the UAE. Well, the thing is, it becomes second nature, right? So whilst initially you would go out of your house and two minutes later realize when you see other people that you’re not wearing mask, you have to go back, get your mask. Over time, it becomes second nature. And if I was government government, I would keep the mask restriction for a long time until the crisis is completely overcome. Because now that you have gone through the painful process of creating a habit in the population for something that is demonstrable, a barrier to transmission, then why lift it, right? When you’ve done the job now, the difficult part, the difficult job has been done, which is to create the habit. Now that the habit is there, why lift it? So I’m vaccinated. I think that’s not a good idea. But it really is a small nuisance in this way to get out of this. But I think it’s also, when I went to a lot of places in the last six months, and the idea of wearing a mask and the idea of wearing a mask is very different. So the idea is instituted very differently from place to place. It’s more of a status symbol or a social symbol, a virtual signal symbol in some places. In other suits, well, I’m just going to wear a mask, right? And I think this might be the… Well, it isn’t here. It isn’t here because here you have to, right? So the decision to have is taken away from you. You have no choice. You have to, unless you’re sitting in a… If you’re sitting in a restaurant, on a table in a restaurant, you’re allowed to remove your mask. Otherwise… If you eat in an airplane, everyone takes off their mask at the same time. Sorry? If you eat in an airplane, right? An economy, right? Everyone takes off their mask at the same time. All right. This thing is… Well, it’s well intended. I don’t think there’s much utility to it. But anyway, so let’s talk about the vaccine for a second. I know that the UAE has really built a business case around the vaccines. And that’s pretty spectacular because we basically just think of it as expensive that we have to go through this. But the UAE seems to be on a track that they say, well, we can actually make money with this. Absolutely. That is… What’s been done here is quite impressive. We have… Basically, the population of the UAE has the option to receive any of three vaccines. And literally, you call a call center, and you have to enter your ID and go through a kind of a menu in the call center. And then they ask you, please press one, if you would like to have the Pfizer vaccine, plus two, if you would like to have the AstraZeneca vaccine, or press three, if you would like to have the Sinopharm vaccine. So you literally choose for yourself. And initially, at the beginning of the rollout, there were some restrictions with one or the other. The AstraZeneca vaccine had some issues with some unexpected side effects. And that got kind of put on hold. The timing between the first and second job was changed. But anyway, overall, as a population, residents in the UAE, so not only nationals, but also all residents, have the option of receiving any of three vaccines and to do it for free. And the vaccination rate has been very steep. I don’t have checked the latest numbers, but I would say that we are, in terms of having received the first job, we must be by, I don’t know, 70% or so of the population and fully vaccinated with two jobs, perhaps, I don’t know, 40, 50%, or something like that. Number two in the world, only after Israel. And if you see what happened in Israel with the reduction of the spread of the virus, the so called R0, so how many people get the virus from, if somebody is sick, to how many people they transmit the virus, and during the heights of the pandemic, the R0 number was, I don’t know, something like two or more than two or 1.5, or I don’t remember, you know, everybody that got the virus would pass it to more than one person, and that’s why the numbers would explode exponentially. And the objective of pandemic prevention or management is to bring the R0 number below one, so that, you know, that means that the entire thing dies off. If one person pass it to less than one person, then the whole thing over time will die off. And that is clearly what happened in Israel, and that is what is going to happen here in the UAE as well. So we will, if we’re not already there, we will reach herd immunity very soon. As, you know, the second country in the world, probably, that has achieved that. Now, initially, when we got the vaccination program underway, it was criticized from the Western press that the UAE would, you know, buy vaccines to, you know, to secure vaccines for its own population. And in a way, it’s so unfair, because other people that might need the vaccine more in other places would not have access to it while we here, we have access to it because we’re so rich, right? So that was the argument from, let’s say, people with a left leaning agenda. But I’d say this is, this is how the world works, and this is how it always worked. If you’re productive enough, especially on a wider scale, obviously, we don’t necessarily want access to medicine from billionaires or by billionaires, but the world works by increasing your own productivity and then using the fruits of this productivity to mostly your own benefit, your own nation state, your own city, maybe your own family, even. But this is how the world always works. This is creating a lot of good incentives, right? This is a good incentive that you have a little more out of life because you struggled for the longest time to make slightly more out of the given resources. And I think this is the human nature. And that shouldn’t be something we should worry about at any point. Right. And I fully agree with you. And I fully 100% agree with you. And my response to that argument would be that the, first of all, as you very well said, right, if you have the means, not doing it would be crazy, right? But it goes beyond that in my perspective. For me, the decision that the country made, that the leadership of our country made to have a very, very aggressive vaccination campaign was a very, very business driven decision, an economic decision, if you will. So if you run the numbers from public information that I gather, the vaccines cost between a couple of dollars to 20 dollars or so per dose. And the most expensive being the Pfizer vaccine, which we also have here. Even if you take that high cost, right, of 20 dollars per job, you need two of those. So it’s $40. And then the UAE has a population of around about 10 million, a little bit less inhabitants. So you need basically $400 million. $400 million to create, to vaccinate your entire population. And secondly, you also would need to have the whole infrastructure to deliver the vaccine. So you need hospitals and so on and so forth. So let’s say you need another billion or so for the actual delivery. So you would end up with one and a half billion, let’s call it two billion, something like that. That is, first of all, for a country like the UAE, not so much, actually for many developed countries, that is not so much. And you wonder why other countries didn’t do it. And second, if you look at it from the point… Do you actually know why Europe didn’t procure all the vaccines? It seems a mystery to me. It seems, it’s a given, right? Is it a money problem or is it just bureaucracy? Does anybody know or is it just, we don’t know, we’re trying to find out 20 years later? Well, I mean, I have no clue. I’m lucky to be in this country. I’m fully vaccinated myself already, thanks to the great organization here and the vision that the country had to have a very, very fast rollout. But the point that I wanted to make is that, for me, that is a business case in itself. If you consider, if you look at it from the point of return on investment, and you say, okay, I have to invest $2 billion, let’s say, what kind of return on investments am I going to get? Well, if I am going to be the number two country in the world to create herd immunity, where this country is going to be, COVID is over, basically, so that business can be conducted in an unrestricted fashion, the country will be open to all the world for tourism, and tourism is obviously a very important industry here. And by the way, we have the Expo 2020, which was supposed to happen in 2020, but it’s now 2021, starting in October 2021 until April 2022, which is going to be the greatest show in the world, as the ads say, and I’m sure it will be. And you want to be able to offer to the whole world a safe environment, right? So what is going to be the return on your investment of $2 billion for an entire country that’s going to be able to operate its economy in a normal way, unrestricted, and is going to be able to welcome the world for the greatest show in the world for six months, right? It’s going to be a gigantic return on investment. Yeah, I mean, nobody doubts that public health is usually good investment. I mean, there’s some edge cases where you prevent diseases at high cost that actually affect a very small part of the population. But I think covaccines in general, well, if you can make them available, they’re incredibly cheap. I don’t even know why they’re so cheap. Think about all these, the medication, the drugs that we produce and the prescription drugs, they’re really, really not cheap, right? And I don’t even know, maybe it’s the liabilities because you are not liable for any harm that you do with the vaccine. Maybe that makes such a big difference. I don’t actually know, but they seem incredibly cheap. Not investing in vaccines seems full of shumming. It’s about $200 per person, $500 per person. It’s a joke, right? Given what it could do to bring economic activity back, everyone should do it. And I think everybody wants to, but it’s being, and that’s all I know, really, is that the U.S. had a venture capitalist who ran that operation, the operation warp speed. And in the U.S., and in Europe, it was the normal bureaucracy that tackled that problem. And that is a difference in speed of, this actually made the difference. I have no idea. And it is, I think it’s so simple for the very small amount of money to heal all the economic delays we are in. So it seems very, very obvious it should be the priority of a government. Maybe that speaks to that point that governments all around the planet are basically useless. They’re just making the life of their citizens worse. This seems to be surprisingly better in a few select countries. And I mean, Dubai is more city than a country, I would say. They are all United Arab Emirates. They seem to have figured out a way to make things better and not fall in this trap. And I think the reveal right now in the U.S., we have this whole side of libertarians, you know, basically, they suggest an anarcho capitalism. So it’s kind of the idea of, we know, Bitcoin is our currency. We just abandoned the dollar. The dollar has its problems. Is it fixable? Absolutely. Do we have to go to Bitcoin? It’s a little ridiculous. And because we can’t even run transactions on Bitcoin in less than 15 minutes, it takes forever. I mean, there’s a lot of problems with bitcoins, maybe not generally with cryptocurrency. But there’s like, they go so far as to say, well, we don’t want to talk to anyone anymore, because we can’t convince these people. We want to just stay in our safe zones and in our bubbles. We want to, we don’t want to build infrastructure anymore, because we don’t really need it, right? We just, we just, I don’t only care about those people who believe in what I believe and this is whatever, 5% population, 10% population. So this is a huge side of the American debate that we treated as extreme libertarianism, which on the first glance, you know, Ayn Rand seems very interesting, but it is not something that brings a whole country forward. Like it’s, it’s almost like instead of building road, we all get bigger cars with bigger shocks and bigger tires. It’s, it’s not useful, right? We all know this because we can run the numbers and we can see what comes out of it. Better infrastructure basically always pays off. There’s some tradeoffs where it didn’t work out that way. But there’s very few examples. But I don’t know if it’s the population who has lost that belief. And the Europe is further ahead in this than the U.S. But I think we’re going towards the European model. If the population has lost the belief in their own, in their own better future, or is it the government who’s simply useless and just, you know, almost like a Soviet government sabotage everything that citizens want to do. I haven’t really made up my mind, but it feels like this is a, this is a disease that has been going on for a long time, 40, 50 years, basically since mid 70s, early 70s, if not earlier. Well, it goes back to the discussion of, you know, individual freedom versus the collective benefit, right? And different countries, you know, set, set the, their, their, their preferred compromise in different places. In the case of the U.S., historically, U.S. has been kind of the, the most individualistic country where individual freedoms take precedence over everything else. And that is, that is, that is great. And the U.S. is an amazing country. But, but, you know, it has to be clear that that has its cost, right? So for instance, the, the perennial discussion about gun violence in, in the U.S., or police brutality, police, police violence in the U.S., in, from, you know, as, as, as an external observer, for me, that is clearly linked to the kind of a second amendment right of their arms. So if, if you, if you have a society like here, you know, arms are not allowed in the UAE, I cannot bear an arm. As a private citizen, only the police is allowed to do it. And there are, you know, zero, zero weapons outside of, outside of the armed forces. If you, so if the police faces me, right, they would know that I’m not a threat to them because I’m not, you know, 99.99% of the situations, I’m not going to have a weapon with me, right? Whereas in the U.S., if a policeman faces… Well, that’s a really special case. That’s a really special case, Pablo, because you can buy in pretty much any place in the developed and nondeveloped world, you can buy a gun for 200 bucks, everywhere. It’s, it’s, I mean, it’s… So I’m just, I’m just, I’m just, I’m not, I’m not, I’m not making the case for one or the other. I’m just trying to make the point of, of the, the cost that has to be paid for, for individual freedom. But everyone can have a gun anyways. That’s what I’m trying to say. Like, irrespective of if you’re a lawyer or not, everyone can have a gun. It doesn’t matter if you say there’s a second amendment or not. You can literally for buy for $200, you can buy a gun anywhere you are. Do buy is a special place because it is very well right related and actually enforced. But generally the cost of a gun is really, really low. Well, I mean, I, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know about, you know, gun laws in all over the world. But from what I gather, you know, places like Australia, in, in, in Western Europe in general, you have, you know, gun ownership is highly regulated. So while it can be, you can buy a gun, you have to go through a lot of hurdles to be able to do it, right? So that illegally, illegally, no, I mean, illegally, you can buy this gun. And that’s, it’s, you’re breaking the law by buying a gun, but in black markets, it’s available. That’s usually the price point. It’s available anywhere you go on the planet. Yeah, you break the law and you, that’s an offense that gets you into prison by itself without using it, just buying it, right? So there is a risk to it, but it’s readily available if you are on that side, on the criminal side, so to speak, anywhere on the planet. Right. Okay, that, that’s, that’s, that, that’s a good point. I guess, I guess that that applies to everything, right? So if you, if you’re outside the boundaries of the law, then, then, you know, many things don’t apply, right? So, so the point that I was trying to make is that because in the U.S., you have more arms than, more weapons than, than people. And I believe that that’s the only case in the whole, the only country in the whole world where, where that is the case. And, you know, for me, that has, Israel and Switzerland, I think are, I have the same marriage. Oh, is that right? Okay. But, but, you know, that, that, that means that if I, if I’m a, if I’m a policeman in the U.S. and have to assume that every suspect that I have in front of me might be more, there’s a high probability that that person would be carrying a weapon, right? Then the precautions that I would have to take are completely different, that in an entirely different league, that the precautions I would have to take if I’m I’m saying Dubai, where I might still be the one in a million illegal person carrying a gun, but, but, but, you know, most likely it’s not going to be the case, right? So that, that has clear consequences on, on, on the relationship between the, the, the law enforcement and the population, right? Yeah, for sure. But I think you’re looking at it. This isn’t the problem, I feel. The problem that we have in the U.S. is we have a huge rate of, of more violent crime that you would expect the level of income. So if you say the level of income is a factor for development, it’s maybe not the best proxy, but we can make that argument compared to most other places on the planet, not all, but many. And in a, in that league, we have way more violent crime. I don’t think this is because of guns, guns play a role. I’m with you and the availability of guns also plays a role. So it is a difference if you, if you buy it legally or not. So it is a, it’s a level of risk you have to go through, right? I give you that point, but I think there’s more to it. We have this huge, we would still have, even if you, the second amendment goes away tomorrow and all the guns go away, let’s just assume this, we would still have this higher elevated level of violence. There’s something else going on. That’s obviously right for speculation. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So we diverted. We, I didn’t want to go into a full blown discussion on, on second amendment, but more, more, see, yeah, you move, move the topic. That’s okay. That’s great. So the point, the point was that the, the, the point that you started was the, the value of having a regulated environment that, that is, that is directed towards the, say the common good as opposed to an environment that is where, where the individual freedom takes, takes presence over everything, right? So that, that, that was the point that you, the direction that you wanted to go into and clearly Dubai is an example of, in terms of the economy, right? I, I have a certain sympathy for, for the, you know, the views that, that you have to leave markets to their own devices and everything is going to, you know, the invisible hand is going to take care for everything. I, I have, you know, personally, philosophically, I sympathize with, with that worldview. However, living in a place that has won a free economy, but at the same time, a very regulated economic environment or life in general, I have to say that it is clear that the, the, the Dubai can be seen as a, as a positive example of, of what positive regulation can achieve. And let me give you the one example. Could you teach this to more places, please? Yeah. I fully agree. I fully agree. And it’s, you know, I was, I wanted to ask you this question. I mean, I know we might be able to combine this with what you just were about to say. I was asking Jim, Jim Rogers, and, you know, I was asking him, so where is this place you should invest in? So what is, by his own measures, obviously a place that has maybe been through a crisis, but it’s, it’s coming out with the right concept and has the right catalyst. And for him, as a personal experience, not just necessarily as an investment, this was Asia, this was Singapore, this was the place where he wants to be, he wants to be in Asia because for him, he said, you know, it used to be London 200 years ago, 100 years ago was New York City. Now it’s Asia, Singapore, or maybe Shanghai, if we had a little more freedom, maybe. Do you feel for the next 100 years, Dubai is that place because it found that model and it has this, this magic, whatever that would sometimes hard to describe what that magic really is? I do, actually. I think that assuming that there is no change in the government philosophy, so to say. And that is obviously a wild card because we are in a, in an absolute monarchy here. So you have your subject to, in a way, the, you know, being lucky or unlucky in the succession line of the, of the monarchs, right? A son might come, you know, a crown prince, a crown prince, I’m not talking about the crown prince of Dubai, but a crown prince in, you know, 50 years from now might, might come into power, which has a different opinion about things and things might change in, in, in a, in a different, might go in a different direction. But assuming that the philosophy that has made this country so successful continues, I see no scenario where Dubai is not, you know, does not continue to be a great success. I think this is clearly a winning, a winning, a winning economic philosophy. And let me explain a little bit why. So if you think of, as I said before, the 95% of population here are foreigners, we all came here by our own choice, right? And so why did we come here, right? So the residence visa in, in the UAE and Dubai in particular is linked to work, right? If you either have an employment from a company that has hired you, or if you have your own company, that entity has the right following certain rules to sponsor your, your visa, right? So you become a resident by virtue of your work, right? So there is in Dubai or in the UAE there are no income taxes. So all your income ends up in your own pocket. At the same time, there is no social security, no education and health care provided by the government. So it’s all private, right? So you, you pay no taxes, but you have to buy your own services, so to say. If you don’t have work, you have no visa. So that means that basically if you work for a company and you get fired, you have one month to leave the country, right? It’s, it’s pretty brutal, right? So if, if you imagine you, you’ve been living here for 15 years, you have your family, your children, your car and your dog in the country, right? And then you have, you get fired, you have one month to leave the country. There are works around, around it and, and, and things work out just fine, but, but that’s the principle, right? So basically what you have is an extreme carrot and stick system where you have a huge incentive to be productive because all the earnings will end up in your pocket and you have a huge disincentive to be unproductive because if you don’t have work, you have to leave, right? So that, that, that philosophy attracts high performance, high performing individuals, right? Attract risk takers, attract people that, you know, adventure souls that are looking for, for, for a better future and are ready to leave everything behind in their own countries and come to a place like Dubai. So I want to, I want to, I want to, I want to interject for one second because when I hear about the people who came to America in the 19th, 20th century, early 20th century, the assumption is always those are basically the people that had no value, no future in wherever they came from. That’s the only reason they came to the US. They had maybe a pioneering spirit, but they were like, they weren’t the brightest and smartest. We think that now, but in their country, they were definitely the rejects. Do you think that’s true for Dubai? Because we’ll be obviously, we obviously have this adventurous gene that they need to come to Dubai. Well, there’s obviously always a factor of opportunity cost, right? So if you have, you will always, if you’re taking the decision to move to Dubai or anywhere for that matter, you will be comparing your state to school, wherever you are with the opportunities that the alternative is offering you, right? So the better off you are in, in, in your current, in your current situation, the higher the opportunity cost is that you’re, that the new world that you’re moving to will have to surpass, right? So in arguably the opportunity cost for all the immigrants to the Americas, coming from an impoverished Europe and, you know, wars and everything would have been quite low, right? And that is also the case for the, for, for, for many immigrants that come to Dubai, that come from very poor places, and then, you know, the, the slightly better conditions that they might find in Dubai are, are a win compared to what they have, what they have left behind. That also applies to something which I also wanted to comment on, which, which is, which is a very, very interesting trend that I have observed myself since I have moved here 13 years ago. Back then when I moved here, the running joke was when you move to Dubai, you get two buckets, one bucket is labeled money and the other bucket is labeled shit. And you stay in Dubai and you put the money that you make in the one bucket and you put all the shit that you have to bear with in the other bucket. And as soon as one of the buckets is full, you leave. So that was a running joke, right? And so to express the fact that Dubai was a very transient city, that people would just come here to make money and leave whenever they made enough money or whenever they were sick and tired of all the shit that they have to bear. Now that has changed. That has changed significantly and I have seen it myself. And I have seen it in particular in the Muslim diaspora and Arab diaspora. As you know, there is a big diaspora in say the US, UK, Europe, Muslims and Arabs that have a, you know, say a British passport, Canadian passport, American passport, to a lesser extent, other European nations as well. French, obviously. Now, after 9 11, being a Muslim or an Arab in the West has become less of an attractive proposition. There’s all sorts of, you know, issues with that and you know what I’m talking about. At the same time, Dubai became a world class city, a place where you have all the advantages of, you know, living in a very developed place, arguably more than in many places in the West. And so what I have seen myself is that, you know, 13 years ago, people, acquaintances of mine would come, would move from London or from, from the US or from France to Dubai, Muslims or Arabs, with the idea of staying here for two, three, four, five years, 13 years hence, they’re still here. And they see themselves as, you know, staying here because that, this has become their country because they’re their place, their home, right? Because you, as a Muslim or as an Arab, you’re not in a minority or in a significant minority. The country is very friendly to all religions, very, you know, very open to the whole world. And you have everything that you had back home in London or in New York or, you know, so basically you get the best of both worlds here, right? And that has created a culture where people don’t come and go as much as before. Granted, this is still a transient place, but you have much more people. I have, you know, plenty of friends which have been here for, for more than a decade and, and that they see themselves staying here forever, basically. So, so this, this, this has, has, has become a significant, significant trend on the back of that cost of opportunity that we spoke before, right? You know, what am, what am I leaving behind and what am I finding in Dubai? Yeah, it sounds like the, the only thing missing is that you’re going to run for public office at Dubai. You seem quite a disciple. When are you announcing this? Are you thinking about that? One of the beauties about living in the UAE is that there is no public office to talk about. Even on a local level. I thought you must have a mayor. Who’s the mayor of Dubai? No, we, we, we have, we have the ruler of, of Dubai, which is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, which is also the vice president of the UAE. So, you don’t like anyone, even like a school board or, you know, like, like local functions, I don’t know. Like a neighborhood district supervisor, I don’t know. No, no. So, so everything is, so the, the, it’s an absolute monarchy. So everything that is related to government would be within the realm of, of, of, of the ruler. And then, you know, in the private sector, obviously, when it comes to schools, you would have governing boards for schools, which are determined by, by, by, by the private companies that run the schools, right? But otherwise, no. But, but yes, indeed, I, I, you know, I’ve been 30 years here. I, I love it here. It’s, it’s, it’s a great, great place to, place to live. And I, while I, you know, I could see myself living, living elsewhere as well. But I’m here by choice, right? This is, this is a place that I think has a, has a great lifestyle, a great compromise. You know, there’s no perfect place in the world, right? We want to see your ankles, Pablo. So we want to make sure you don’t have an ankle. And you have, you have to say very positive things about the body. No, I mean, we believe you. We believe you. It’s, you’re very passionate about that. And that’s, you know, that’s, that’s amazing. Because I know you’ve been to a bunch of places and it’s, it sounds like this is your home, right? This is, this is the place where that you found for yourself. Yeah. Well, so, so you, you, you could also say that I am clearly a glass half full person. And living everywhere, I would try to find positives to be, to be happy, right? Because it doesn’t, it doesn’t pay on the long run, you know, the clearly the, the, the, the, the, the, the future is, is, is for the, for the optimist, right? Then I’m an optimist. So wherever I live, I would find positive things. But once again, I’m here by choice. You know, I, I, I could live basically, you know, I’m happy to say that I’ve reached a stage in my life where I could live everywhere I wanted, you know, assuming that I am allowed to go living in that country. But, you know, I’m here by choice. This is the place where I see, you know, I hope so. Yes. Yes. I mean, a lot of people would say that the place where you are is less of an importance. So we’ve, we’ve cloudified ourselves, right? So we, we, this is kind of what we are talking through this video interview. And a lot of things that happened with COVID, but even preceding COVID, we had the chance to, to take these wild dreams of the late nineties, we put them into place and be cloudified ourselves. So right now we can, we can, even if we’re on the physical place, we’re maybe not so happy, you seem to be very happy about it, but it doesn’t really matter anymore. Because if we go and I, you know, I notice myself, if I go to a different ACS, maybe two or three hours of the day will be different. But the rest is exactly the same. I stare at the same screen. I drink the same kind of drink. I, I do the exact same thing at the same local hours. So there is a little bit of difference left. And I talk the same in the same language, but even if slightly different languages would be the same thing that I would, would, would, would voice, I almost feel like even the young countries in the U.S. always been true that you can move easily between states, but you can move to so many different places. Now, yes, you can find slight differences if you’re on the hunt for this. It’s absolutely possible. But if you go slightly backwards and say, well, I want to be similar in a similar environment, digital nomad is my idea. Looking for the next 40 years, it doesn’t really matter where you are that much anymore. Yeah, well, I mean, I clearly get stimulated by the environment where I am, you know, and I like, you know, cultural diversity. I like the fact that, you know, I walk down from my apartment to, you know, walk around the area where I live and, you know, I would have, I don’t know, 20 restaurants in walking distance from, from my home and you would be surrounded by people, you know, you would walk past the tables and you would hear, you know, 10 languages in a short walk, right? You would see all sorts of ethnicities, you know, the whole world would be literally in my five minute walk, right? So, so that is something that I find very stimulating and I like to find people that have, and to be able to interact with people all day and every day that have completely different cultural backgrounds on my own. And, you know, I find that very, very, very stimulating, right? So, that is something that obviously one of the reasons why I am here and that you find to a lesser extent when you travel in, when you travel in different places, you find that those different cultural environments, but they’re more monolithic, right? Within, so let’s, let’s say you travel to, I don’t know, Georgia, right? You go to Georgia and then in Georgia, obviously you find great, is history is about Georgian people, but mostly you, well, there’s mostly Russians in summer, there’s mostly Russians and Ukrainians in summer, all right, at least in Batumi, right? So, it’s maybe a bad example, but say you, I was assuming you would make that example of Ethiopia, where literally everyone is just in Ethiopia, everyone thinks Ethiopia is the spiritual capital of the world and the rest of the world is just, it’s in erroneous ways, right? It’s very strange, it’s kind of like China has a similarity to this, but they all feel like they have the truth in their hands and finally you go there to see the truth. Now, it’s a fantastic country, but that’s a lot, right? That’s a, that’s a very communist idea where they’ve been shielded from anything else for the longest time and now they’re just coming out of this. I should, I should have mentioned my, my home country Argentina as, as an example of that, but that is also very monolithic. You don’t have many foreigners, even though Argentina was built by foreigners, but you know, meanwhile, so when, when I went to school in Argentina, all my schoolmates in my primary school, in my secondary school and in my university, everybody, everybody was Argentinian, right? My son went to school in Dubai and in his class, there would be 20, 20 students and there would be 20 nationalities, right? So, so that, that, that, that is a big difference. Yeah. That’s a whole, whole other topic. There is, there’s kind of a depth to be, to swimming in your own sauce for long enough in your own water, right? There is a depth of experience. If you see this, you know, this from Germany, where, where people go into these rabbit holes and Germany is really good at this, but they get really good at when they get into these rabbit holes. They, they get really successful. They find something in there, right? They definitely lose the, the bigger picture very easily, but they do find the specialization and, you know, Japan is another example of this. Everyone is literally Japanese, but it’s so fascinating, Japan. And it’s the, everything is fascinating. The food is fascinating, the, the, the cars they drive, the way they behave. It’s so different, right? But it’s, so there seems to be two approaches to this. One is to just, you know, the New York style, Dubai style, Singaporean style, to be relatively open, let the best rule. I think this is awesome. And then there is the other side that is, we don’t want to talk to you for the next 100 years, but then we come back to you. We give you this wonderful world of the very different solutions that you can learn from us. And that seems to be the German or Japanese answer to this. Yes, yes. Which I should say is as fascinating to visit as, as it is to visit the multicultural place to, to, to, to see, you know, how, how a culture has been kind of isolated from the rest of the world can, can develop into something absolutely unique, right? So, so, and Japan, I think, I think is a, is a best example. And it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, I absolutely love, love. I only was there once, but, you know, I’m really looking forward to be able to go to Japan. Again, it’s such a fascinating place. Do you have a lead us again? Well, I’m really looking forward to, to being in Dubai next month. So hopefully we’ll find the time to catch up in person as well. Thanks for going to the podcast again. Pablo, that was awesome. Thanks for taking the time. I know you had to get up really early. It was, it was a pleasure at Torsten, a very stimulating and great conversation as always. Thank you. I’ll see you next time, Pablo. Talk to you. Thank you.

Recommended Podcast Episodes:
Recent Episodes: