During the last decade, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) established high profile cities and built modern architectural marvels into the desert sand and the Persian Gulf. Markus van Tilburg analyses the factors behind those profound changes, of which the aforementioned constructions are only one aspect. He is focusing on the Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Two states with varied geographic pre-conditions, history and efforts to pursue diverse economic strategies in order to escape from resource abundance. The global economic ascendancy of the UAE, within a period of merely 20 years, gives raise to a variety of questions. The author answers some of these: What were the driving forces and which were the decisive catalysts behind the UAE´s steep economic growth? Did geographical factors contribute to this role? Were lessons from previous oil booms successfully applied and did they contribute to actual and future developments? Do strategies used to compensate actual oil income really work, what perspectives do they give, and are they sustainable? Was the globalization process beneficial to the UAE´s diversification strategies? How is the globalization process promoting the creation of local markets?