Photo by Trey Ratcliff.
Intelligent Life, the lifestyle and culture magazine from The Economist, is running a poll to find out which city should be the capital of the world.
James Miles, the Beijing bureau chief of The Economist, thinks the answer should be none other than Beijing. He writes:
Beijing cannot exert power globally in the way that Washington can. It lacks the military muscle and soft power of America (though it is spending huge sums on building up both). But unlike America, which has quite a few enemies, there is hardly a country in the world that does not want to court Beijing. Even countries that are suspicious of it (America included) treat it with wary respect, if not outright fawning. Washington radiates power, whether hard or soft, in huge doses. But in parts of the world resistance is strong too: try expressing admiration for America in Pyongyang. The power that emanates from Beijing is weaker but more pervasive. Some ridicule American culture; few dare ridicule China’s. Paying homage to it is a ritual that Western powers are especially anxious to observe. During an agenda-packed trip to Beijing in 2009, President Obama spent valuable time visiting the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
Other Economist editors have cast their lots with London, Washington, New York, Singapore and Delhi.
At the time of writing, most voters that have taken part in the online poll think New York deserves the crown. London is in second position and Singapore third. Shanghai and Beijing are in fifth and seventh spots.
Root for your favourite city here.