London, not New York

… if you follow the flow of money around the world, you might be surprised to find that the central node of global finance, the place where money passes through most often, is London, not New York. Wall Street, of course, is no piker. American investment banks — partly because the U.S. economy is the largest in the world — do more business and make more money. But when it comes to international transactions, London is the world’s financial center. The City of London, its Wall Street, employs more than 300,000 people, whereas Wall Street itself employs fewer than 200,000. Banks in the United States hold total assets that come to about 85 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. In Britain, the banks hold almost 400 percent more money than its G.D.P., mainly because so much international business takes place there. And as the U.S. share of global finance shrinks, international business matters more.

We are used to a small group of like-minded democracies calling the shots, but these democracies now have increasingly less influence over world politics, We are heading toward no-one’s world, a world of multiple modernities, interdependent and globalized without a dominant political center or model.

- Charles Kupchan, a professor of international affairs at Georgetown, cited by Roger Cohen in How Bad Are Things, Really?

Above and below.

Globally, the Pax Americana is breaking up (that’ts why we aren’t keeping the peace in Somalia or Myanmar, or all the other economically unimportant, dusty, hot, and impoverished ‘nations’). The West is falling, and the current round of the European debt crisis, and the failure of developed nations to rein in carbon emissions are just two of the two dozen or so hypercritical issues confronting us that the ‘leading nations’ are seemingly incapable of fixing.

At the other end of the scale, more and more people are living in ungoverned areas, like favelas, squatter towns, and slums. 

We have the loss of governing at all scales. 

The Occupy movement and related dissent and unrest elsewhere are a partial response to this growing void, but I wonder if it is beyond us to solve everything at once.

Perhaps we will have to restrain our governments at the international level, become closed protectionist states, in order to end globalism. Then each region can apply more resources to conquering its own local problems, and redistributing the wealth so that the 1% are left without an oligarchic government to do their will.

We have to look to the cities as the battleground to cure the world. Instead of building countries into amalgamated states — like the United States of America or the European Union — we need to break our enormous problems into smaller, regional ones, and solve those independently.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

from The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats

(via underpaidgenius)

We have to look to the cities as the battleground to cure the world. Instead of building countries into amalgamated states — like the United States of America or the European Union — we need to break our enormous problems into smaller, regional ones, and solve those independently.