By Geoff Colvin, senior editor-at-large
FORTUNE -- At a big business conference recently -- where the rules forbade my quoting participants by name -- I was surprised to hear a famous CEO refer in passing to "New York City, which is still the center of the world." The CEO isn't American (he's English), and whenever I see him he's always just coming from or going to China. And he thinks New York is the center of the world. I wondered, Could he be right?
A few days later I got a call from Noel Tichy, the well-known leadership expert and professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, to say he was bringing 15 global MBA students -- all of them from outside the U.S., most of them Asian -- to the city for two days. "I asked how many of them had been to New York, and only two or three of them raised their hands," he explained. "I said, 'Come on. How can you understand global business if you've never been to the world's financial center? We're going!'"
So are these guys right? The conventional view is of course that the global centers of gravity -- economic, intellectual, social, cultural -- are shifting unstoppably east, and little old New York is receding to the middle of the pack. Yet a case can still be made for New York's primacy, as follows:
-It is arguably still the preeminent financial center. Its claim was in danger after the scandals of the Enron/WorldCom era prompted Sarbanes-Oxley and other heavy-handed regulations, which drove many companies to capital markets elsewhere, especially London. But now London and the EU have heaped mountains of regulation onto firms, including proposed limits on bankers' bonuses, and New York looks a lot more alluring once again.
-It is unquestionably the global media capital. Of the world's 10 biggest media companies, five -- CBS (CBS), News Corp. (NWSA), Time Warner (TWX), 21st Century Fox (FOX), and Viacom (VIA) -- are based in New York. No other city has more than one.
Money and media -- when a city is world headquarters for those two sectors of today's economy, maybe it really is the center of the world. So all hail New York! It has held the title for, let's say, 68 years (since the end of World War II). But for how much longer? Five years? I wouldn't bet on it. The famous CEO who called New York the center of the world made his remark in Singapore. That eastward trend may surge and pause, but it isn't stopping.
It's time to address the uncomfortable questions we face after each natural disaster.
By Lori Bertman
FORTUNE -- A burning question for domestic disaster professionals -- and just about anyone with a wandering imagination -- has always been, "What would happen if a catastrophic event hit the island of Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs?"
Last October, Superstorm Sandy made landfall in the Tristate Area, prompting a mandatory evacuation order for hundreds of MOREOct 31, 2013 11:29 AM ET
The Detroit giant is moving its treasury staff to the Midwest.
By Doron Levin
FORTUNE -- General Motors Co.'s decision to move its treasury staff to Detroit from its historic home in New York is another sign of the automaker's restructuring as well as a subtle shift from a management philosophy that helped GM rule in an earlier time.
The move, affecting 70 GM (GM) workers, will take place next year. Dan MOREMay 24, 2013 11:34 AM ET
New York City's No. 1 destination for thrill-seekers is in the middle of a high-dollar facelift.
By Anne VanderMey, reporter
FORTUNE -- In 1938, at the height of Coney Island's popularity, Fortune reported that the "narrow strip of land, about 800 to 1,000 feet in width and two and a quarter miles long," was valued at about $22 million, or $337 million in today's dollars. But the strip is probably worth MOREJun 1, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Editor's Note: Every Sunday, Fortune publishes a favorite story from our archive. On this Memorial Day weekend, travel back to August 1938 to New York City's Coney Island on a hot summer Sunday. The article profiles the narrow strip of land where Brooklyn meets the Atlantic and thousands of New Yorkers still pour out of the subway to eat hot dogs, ride roller coasters, visit bathhouses and watch freak shows. This was during the MOREMay 29, 2011 10:17 AM ET
On the 25th anniversary of Microsoft's IPO, Fortune is featuring our 1986 cover story in which we followed around a young Bill Gates as he prepared to take his company public. Here's the story of the birth of a billionaire.
Editor's Note: This story was first published in the July 21, 1986 issue of Fortune. As Bro Uttal told Fortune's editor, Marshall Loeb, at the time (see Editor's Letter at the bottom MOREMar 13, 2011 9:00 AM ET
|2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack|
|Fast food worker: Protest didn't cost me pay|
|Job growth drives mortgage rate jump|
|GM to discontinue Chevrolet brand in Europe|
|Ron Paul: Bitcoin could 'destroy the dollar'|