Late 19th and early 20th century business used New York City as a
home base for operations due to it’s geographical position
between all other states and Europe. Such largely successful
men as John Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and Andrew Carnegie all
made their riches outside New York but used it to set up shop,
partly due to the cities prestigious reputation for success. Now
with e-trade rendering geographical location somewhat
meaningless New York is loosing it’s stronghold on the American
dollar as e-commerce is portable enough to be done anywhere
that there is internet connectivity. While New York certainly
was the undeniable king of the 20th century the question now
moves to which city will be the new economic powerhouse of
America when New York leaves its throne. Unless certain
companies (yahoo, AOL, Amazon, etc.) come together, as
Rockefeller and company did, and decide where the next trade
capital of America shall be located then New York might just
keep the title or another country might just steal it away from
• In the past 25 years a score of cities over seas that were
previously only known for their absolute poverty are building
skyscrapers and being put on the map as the #1 way to spend
• Calgary in Canada and Houston and Dallas in Texas have
grown 6x faster in the past decade than NY, LA or SF. These
cities are turning into centers for world trade, thereby being
called ‘world cities’.
• Now Asia has more skyscrapers than North America.
• New York once started as a grimy, peasant infested city with
little prospects just like so many cities around the world. With
New Yorks humble beginnings and opulence today it begs the
question of exactly what seemingly futureless cities will
emerge from the dirt to sweep the world in a storm of
economic boom and social betterment.
Foreign Policy: Farley’s World
• While Kotkin and Khanna have almost completely different ideas of where the world is headed and think
they are both correct in their individual hypothesis's, I believe that it will actually be a blending of the
• As a side note I would like to point out that Kotkin stated Tokyo had over 26 million people in 1975 and
Khanna stated Tokyo had 20 million in 1980. Correct figures and times?
http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/habitat/profiles/tokyo.as Says that Tokyo didn’t have 26.5 mil untill
• As cities continue to grow, Khanna would have us believe that suburban sprawl is undesirable and
inefficient but in many cases it is the preferred way of life. The ‘decent god fearing’ family would have a
hard time raising like minded children in a city of 100 million with over 600,00 people populating a mere
• Kotkin accepts the prediction that megacities will be the primary powerhouse for economic expansion
but will most likely hold only a poor quality of life for its inhabitants. People need their space and in
megacities they won’t get that. The prime example of a highly industrialized, technologically innovative,
smart and affluent suburban society would be Silicon Valley. With the advent of live video chat, in the
palm of your hand or on your desktop, business meetings will be able to take place from the comfort of
one’s own home.
• In my world of tomorrow I see both of these things POTENTIALLY happening (Assuming that we don’t all
die of the nuclear holocaust, ‘Alligator Flu’, a gamma pulse from the alignment of distant planets or from
a series of natural disasters all occurring at once). Both these writers seem like they know what they are
talking about but I’ll meet them in the middle. For what it’s worth I’d really like to sit them both down
for a couple beers and let them have a gentlemen's battle over who’s right and why.
Foreign Policy: Kotkin’s Suburbia
• Joel Kotkin’s glance into an urban world sprawling out is inevitable,
just like megacities. There is no way that the human race has come
so far and that we’re not just going to completely push the
boundaries of what’s possible (architecturally and population-
wise). I’m certain that I hung on to his idea of it definitely
happening and I would agree with that but I can’t say that
megacities won’t sprout up too. There is a demand for both.
Without the yin there is no yang. If Kotkin had some projected
numbers of this future populations income from “all the new
people” that would start to make more sense of just how many
people he thinks are going to be needing places to work and eat
and shop. The ambiguous nature of this hypothetical world
occuring in our lifetimes (hopefully) is just too uncertain and hard
to think seriously about because whatever is going to happen is
going to happen that way and who’s to say at this point in time
exactly what is going to happen? There is always just another side
of the argument and someone willing to play devil’s advocate.
Interesting from this point of view and I’m gonna say “Lets wait
and see what happens”.
Foreign Policy: Khanna’s Cities
• Currently more than half of the world lives in cities and that
number is growing rapidly. Khanna predicts “knowledge
cities” being megalopolises that will define this new urban
age with ‘jagged skylines that stretch as far as the eye can
see’ with the ‘tens of millions’ in population. With megacities
like this emerging the innovation of technology and diversity
of life will have no chance but to skyrocket parallel to the
incline of the population and economic growth if Khanna is
correct in his assumption.
• In 1980 Tokyo’s population of 20 million was mind blowing
but today our minds are being calibrated to accept Shanghai
and Mubai’s 100 million of tomorrow. With these kinds of
numbers I believe that crime will have no choice but to
increase in likelihood and severity, causing a sharp increase in
big government controlling more and more of the city-
dwellers life, which in turn is a bad thing for the individual but
may be a good thing for the whole.