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Another place to look for tomorrow's pyramids is Dubai. See, e.g., The World, 300 "man-made islands shaped into the continents of the world" (http://www.theworld.ae/index.html ); or the Palm Islands (http://www.thepalm.ae/ ); or Dubai Marina, with 200 high-rises on 58 million square feet linked by canals (http://www.dubai-marina.com/ ); or Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world (http://www.burjdubai.com ).

(Incidentally, Dubai is possible because of the indentured servitude of a large migrant laboring class. Most of them come from India; they typically have their passports illegally confiscated upon arrival and can't regain them when they want to leave; they live in squalid camps and earn about a dollar a day.)


Your post reminds me of a recent trip to tour an engraving facility...a type of printing process that dates back to the 16th century and is very labor intensive (each piece is done one at a time by hand.) There was one man working in a small back room who only did gravure printing, a form of the earliest hand engraving done with intricate lines and printed on very soft cotton paper. Many old manuscripts contain this art form for illustrations.

He's the only one there who does it, and has no apprentice because the process is slowly becoming obsolete and too costly for widespread use.

As artisan skills continue to become antiquated, I wonder what will be the "great" remnants of our current society...some skyscraper framework and a multitude of computer code?


It's interesting, because cultures that don't value the individual as highly are still able to complete large-scale, monumental projects. For example, take China's Three Gorges Dam project. Maybe it isn't the Taj Mahal, but it's still pretty impressive. You're right, though; there seems to be an inverse relationship between the comfort of the individual and the achievements of the society in which that individual lives. I don't know, maybe we're better off without any more pyramids.

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