The Dark Side of the Construction Boom

    Construction of the Taj Mahal used up workers “like cattle,” according to Kipling. St. Peter’s Basilica was paid for by indulgences. Fourteen workers died in order build the Empire State Building in just 410 days. Must so many public works be built on top of scandal? Well, yes, at least in emerging global centers with readily exploitable migrant labor forces. We are in the midst of a breathtaking round of mega-project construction, and it is happening mainly in Asia and the Middle East. China and the United Arab Emirates are leading the movement, and neither is known for being labor friendly, to put it mildly.