As a university student training to be part of the “creative class”, I’m not a fan of routine or content with the prospect of “settling down” in one city doing the same thing for the rest of my life. In my opinion, most people really are part of the “creative class”, mostly because I don’t think your job is what defines who you are. You, as a person, socially, your dreams and objectives, that’s what defines you. Then whether or not you actually try to meet those goals defines your drive and character, the strength of your ambition and your will. And that ultimately is who you are.

So anyway, back to what I was saying. It’s my goal in life to be a journalist who gets to travel all over the world. Money isn’t a big issue for me since I’d probably use the extra money I would make in another field traveling anyway. This way I get to do two things I love and get paid for it.

This morning I was looking at the Atlantic Monthly’s website, reading the food section and some of the correspondent’s articles. It’s something I’d highly recommend. The Atlantic has some amazingly interesting stuff.

I came across a story about the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), a biannual ranking of top financial centers across the globe using points, based on surveys taken by financial experts. The Index is produced for the City of London and guess what? London is numero uno.

New York is naturally second, and both London and New York have a commanding lead of more than 100 points over third place Singapore. It’s a possibility the two western powerhouses could see some competition for the top spot from cities like Singapore and Hong Kong (ranked fourth, just three points behind Singapore) in the future, but for now they are pretty safe as the one-two western punch.

Since the last Index was published nearly six months ago, New York and London have lost fewer points than both Singapore and Hong Kong. Some Asian cities have taken a large hit, namely Tokyo, which fell from a seven ranking to a 15 and lost 31 points, the largest drop in the top 20. Some cities, like Boston, Dublin, Toronto and Guernsey, have even capitalized on the losses of others, rising in the rankings despite losing points.

Overall, I think this Index is a pretty interesting way of ranking top financial cities in the world. And it got me thinking about traveling and ultimately, trying to visit most of the world’s richest in my lifetime. Though the rankings will change from year to year, that just means I have to travel more. I’ve got no problem with that.

It’s also being speculated, by Jeffrey Garten at the Financial Times, that once the global recovery begins New York and London will see a tag-team emerge in the east, something he’s dubbed ShangKong, which to me sounds like either a Mortal Kombat villain or some sort of Godzilla-like terrorizer. He postulates that New York and London, let’s call that YorkDon in honor of Garten, will be reeling from this crisis for years, while ShangKong will recover quicker. YorkDon will have to tend to more problems, more industries and more sectors while ShangKong will be able to use its rising economic status to overtake and crush YorkDon.

Talking about cities like this has always wanted to make me travel and visit them. Hearing the word Shanghai spoken or seeing it written doesn’t come close to seeing a photo of the city’s inner core at night, which doesn’t come close to actually being there. Regardless of the ranking of cities like London, Tokyo and ShangKong, I’ll try to make my way through them one by one as I get older.

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About The Author

Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog. You can visit his website at or follow him on twitter @sachinseth

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