First let me debunk a couple of myths, starting with the principle that "anything is better than nothing". Trust me, it's not. [...]
"Anything" costs in time, training, freight, spoilage and waste; it can cost lives.
The bubble in contemporary art is about to pop. It has exhibited all the classic features of the South Sea bubble of 1720 or the tulip madness of the 1630s. It has been the bubble of bubbles--balancing precariously on top of other now-burst bubbles in credit, housing and commodities--and inflating more dramatically than all of them. While British house prices took six years to double at the start of this century, contemporary art managed it in just one, 2006-07.
Overpaid everybody, bribes, millions in scenes that didn't make final cut...
On the rim of the war zone, a new Mecca of conspicuous consumption and economic crime, under the iron rule of Sheikh al-Maktoum. Skyscrapers half a mile high, artificial archipelagoes, fantasy theme parks--and the indentured Asian labour force that sustains them.
Interesting and informative, especially compared to the kind of shallow "wow" travel-writing found elsewhere.
If you want to know what God thinks of money," said Dorothy Parker, "just look at the people he gave it to." Well, God's still on the job. The wealthy of our period are a great disappointment. Narcissism, greed, pride, self-indulgence, vulgarity, hypocrisy, and arrogance are not the problem; those come with the bank account. The problem is that today's rich are doing too little with their narcissism, greed, pride, self-indulgence, vulgarity, hypocrisy, and arrogance. A great fortune provides its holder with that rarest of luxuries, a chance to bring outlandish dreams to life. To astonish.
(Personally, I'm happy to see a little philanthropy instead, but the point is taken.)