One is the 1,614 foot Shanghai World Financial Center, finished in 2008. The other is Manhattan's up-and-coming 1,776 foot One World Trade Center. Leon contrasts the new American anemia in big-ticket construction with China's reputation for finishing projects on time and on budget.
He explains that "these megaprojects aren't aiming for human scale. They are underpinned by a certain Darwinian ruthlessness that prevails in global business capitals. The logic goes like this: If cities don't cast a pall over their streets with the latest, greatest, most imposing high-tech monoliths, then requisite global investments will go elsewhere."