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Friday, May 03, 2013

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Richard, thanks for this thoughtful and very measured article on the whole Rachel Shteir affair. You were probably correct in letting some time intervene before responding.

You are also right about the necessary local discussion on Chicago's place in the world. Chicago is indeed a first-rate provincial capital and must embrace that position. Perhaps one of Chicago's greatest follies over the last 20 years was assuming it was on the cusp of leaping to the global city level that New York, London and Tokyo had already reached. Chicago will not, and should not, achieve that perch.

I'd argue that the rest of the Midwest was hurt by Chicago's global city pursuit. What downstate Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin need is a business and economic champion that can represent their interests on a global scale, and Chicago itself will go stronger (as well as the rest of the Midwest) if it does a better job of that.

The problem with authors like this is they're not researchers who study global financial markets; they're just people trying to understand someone else's work, and falling short while doing it. Chicago isn't pursuing "global city" status. It is a global city by any metric. Is Chicago London or New York? No, but that's not what being a global city means. My advice to Mr. Longworth: back to basics and read Saskia Sassen's The Global City -- the book that introduced the concept of the global city -- and then use that as a foundation to educate yourself about the concept. We don't need to settle for labels like "provincial capital," because those terms are meaningless. Instead, let's just focus on what Chicago does and do it.

I have lived both in New York and Chicago and I can say that in some ways, yes Chicago is better than New York. Chicago is more beautiful, cleaner and has a sophistication that has less glitz. There is a reason why Baker and Meckenzie is in Chicago and not in New York. I spent less time in Chicago than New york;but I can tell you when on a return trip I was driven down Lake Shore Drive and heard the song about it at same time, it brought tears to my eyes!
New York's' economy is based on casino finance (reliant on Uncle Sam's propping it up)-which is not healthy and the it is is becoming more hollow as it is becoming a city for the rich or poor. It is driving people away because of bias in service delivery. Go beyond a few nice parts and what you see wouldn't be out of place in a developing country-and not even the best parts of a developing country city.

You left out Hong Kong.

I say it's up there with New York and Tokyo as a top tier city.

Spent a year there. Also a year in New York. Prefer Hong Kong.

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