(CNN) — When the Burj Khalifa officially opened in Dubai on Monday, much of the world press noted the irony of the world’s tallest building unveiled just weeks after the emirate’s debt crash.
But a look at the history of record-breaking skyscrapers and business cycles suggests otherwise — the opening of every single “world’s tallest” building in the past century has coincided with an economic downturn.
One person who wasn’t surprised by the economic woes greeting the dedication of the Burj Khalifa (renamed Monday from Burj Dubai in honor of the sheikh of Abu Dhabi, which recently threw Dubai a $10 billion lifeline) was Auburn University economist Mark Thornton.
He predicted tough times for the emirate two years ago in a blog entitled “New Record Skyscraper (and depression?) in the making.” He noted that economic depression or stock market collapse usually occurs prior to completion of such skyscrapers.