Sunday, May 20, 2007

NYC is Turning into a Museum

In his latest provocative thesis, Professor Niall Ferguson suggests the impending doom of New York as a center, just as Venice was turned into a museum in centuries past.

It's not a completely clear thesis. It appears attached to job outsourcing, but not clearly which ones, except maybe financial deals getting done outside of NYC. Some weight is given to a resurgent Asia.

The relative depth and breadth of U.S. consumer markets and the generally stable political environment favor a continuation of the U.S., even under a "great re-convergence". It's not an either/or.

What could happen, however, is the that U.S. policy makers fail to recognize the shifts, besotted of past days of that rare combination of political and financial prowess, and thereby fail to adequately protect the U.S. economy from the pending realignments in economic strength.

In other words, it's not just America's military role that could tip the scales one way or the other. It could be a cultural milieu that fails to adapt. The experience with Japan in the late 1980s and early 1990s is perhaps instructive of how difficult those adaptations can truly be, both in divination and in implementation.

Venice on the Hudson

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