Photo: AP Photo/Peter Morgan
With money comes great influence: political, ideological, even sartorial. The doublet and hose of Henry VIII were copied from the lavish dress of rich Florentine and Venetian merchants at the height of the Renaissance; sombre suits spread throughout the world in homage to the Victorian gents who commanded the British empire, and the jeans and T-shirts of today’s teenagers were born in the United States, the 20th-century hegemon.
In their new book, The End of Influence (subtitled What Happens When Other Countries Have the Money), the economists Stephen Cohen and Brad DeLong argue that the supplanting of the US by other rising economic powers will have seismic consequences for a world that has spent the best part of the past century buying up the American dream and all its accessories – from Coca-Cola to schmaltzy Hollywood movies, hamburgers to irritating conversational tics (“like, whatever!”).
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