Global Agenda: The Meaning of a Dropping Dollar

And why you should never take a taxi from Heathrow into central London

There are only a few indicators that can be used to measure bragging rights among nations. There's the size and power of your armed forces. (No fun: the U.S. always wins.) There's the number of medals won at the Olympic Games, preferably weighted by population size (which usually makes Australia top nation). Or--very fashionable in Asia these days--you can look at the size of your tallest building, a contest in which Taiwan has just nosed ahead of Malaysia. Or you can dwell on the relative strength of your currency. Which is why you might expect American self-esteem to be in decline,...

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