Special Report

The Global Cities Index 2010

We are at a global inflection point. Half the world's population is now urban -- and half the world's most global cities are Asian. The 2010 Global Cities Index, a collaboration between Foreign Policy, management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, reveals a snapshot of this pivotal moment. In 2010, five of the world's 10 most global cities are in Asia and the Pacific: Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, and Seoul. Three -- New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles -- are American cities. Only two, London and Paris, are European. And there's no question which way the momentum is headed: Just as more people will continue to migrate from farms to cities, more global clout will move from West to East.

And yet, even as we see the dramatic effects of globalization at work in the rise of up-and-coming cities like Bangalore, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai, what's also remarkable is just how dominant the great capitals of old-school commerce remain. New York, London, Tokyo, and Paris are the top four, as they were in the first Global Cities Index two years ago, and they are ahead in most of the criteria that make a truly global city. Influential networks boost global impact, and having a giant head start -- as New York does in market capitalization, Tokyo in Fortune Global 500 companies, and London in international travelers -- will only amplify those advantages in the future. Success breeds success.

So what makes a Global City? Not size alone, that's for sure; many of the world's largest megalopolises, such as Karachi (60), Lagos (59), and Kolkata (63), barely make the list. Instead, the index aims to measure how much sway a city has over what happens beyond its own borders -- its influence on and integration with global markets, culture, and innovation. To create this year's rankings, we analyzed 65 cities with more than 1 million people across every region of the globe, using definitive sources to tally everything from a city's business activity, human capital, and information exchange to its cultural experience and political engagement. Data ranged from how many Fortune Global 500 company headquarters were in a city to the size of its capital markets and the flow of goods through its airports and ports, as well as factors such as the number of embassies, think tanks, political organizations, and museums. Taken together, a city's performance on this slate of indicators tells us how worldly -- or provincial -- it really is.

The seats of traditional political power aren't necessarily the most global. Only four of the top 10 cities are national capitals. Washington comes in at No. 13. Beijing (15) edges out Berlin (16), which trounces Moscow (25). Two of the top 10 global cities are laws unto themselves, operating outside the jurisdiction of a separate national government (Hong Kong and Singapore). The sun set a half-century ago on the British Empire, and yet London continues to shine at No. 2. For now.

Photo: Robin Hammond / Panos

Special Report

The Failed States Index 2010

The 10 states that fill out the top ranks of this year's Failed States Index -- the world's most vulnerable nations -- are a sadly familiar bunch. Shattered Somalia has been the No. 1 failed state for three years running, and none of the current top 10 has shown much improvement, if any, since FOREIGN POLICY and the Fund for Peace began publishing the index in 2005. Altogether, the top 10 slots have rotated among just 15 unhappy countries in the index's six years. State failure, it seems, is a chronic condition.

This year's index draws on 90,000 publicly available sources to analyze 177 countries and rate them on 12 metrics of state decay -- from refugee flows to economic implosion, human rights violations to security threats. Taken together, a country's performance on this battery of indicators tells us how stable -- or unstable -- it is. And unfortunately for many of the 60 most troubled, the news from 2009 is grave.

At the top of the list, Somalia saw yet another year plagued by lawlessness and chaos, with pirates plying the coast while radical Islamist militias tightened their grip on the streets of Mogadishu. Across the Gulf of Aden, long-ignored Yemen leapt into the news when a would-be suicide bomber who had trained there tried to blow up a commercial flight bound for Detroit. Afghanistan and Iraq traded places on the index as both states contemplated the exit of U.S. combat troops, while already isolated Sudan saw its dictator, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, defy an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court and the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo once again proved itself a country in little more than name.

Even good news for these plagued states came tempered by hard facts. A coalition government in Zimbabwe whipped history's second-worst bout of hyperinflation, fostering the country's first year of positive growth in more than a decade, and Sri Lanka crushed its Tamil Tiger insurgency. But Robert Mugabe's security goons still rule Harare unchecked, while the Sri Lankan government stands accused of committing gross human rights violations.

Given time and the right circumstances, countries do recover. Sierra Leone and Liberia, for instance, no longer rank among the top 20 failing states, and Colombia has become a stunning success story. Few remember today that the Dominican Republic once vied with its neighbor Haiti for the title of "worst Caribbean basket case." But the overall story of the Failed States Index is one of wearying constancy, and 2010 is proving to be no different: Crises in Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, and Nigeria -- among others -- threaten to push those unstable countries to the breaking point.

Photo: Robin Hammond / Panos