America’s cultural supremacy and geopolitical weakness
The notion of ‘decline’ is too crude to capture what is happening to the US in the 21st century
by JANAN GANESH
When the top two teams in the Premier League go at each other this weekend, America can’t lose. Arsenal and Liverpool, like AC Milan, Roma, Marseille, Lyon, Chelsea and (for now) Manchester United, are both US-owned. In 1994, when the nation last hosted the World Cup, it didn’t even have a domestic league. When it next does so in 2026, it should have a major proprietorial role in at least three European ones. The planet’s favourite game is being steered to a considerable extent from American boardrooms.
Perhaps your test of cultural influence is higher-minded than that. Well, consider that US universities continue to dominate world rankings. Or that America accounts for 45 per cent of art sales by value, according to UBS, which is more than Britain and China, the next two markets, combined. To attend the Venice Biennale now is to enter a new Jazz Age in which experts from all over the world vie to advise American patrons on how to spend the spoils of their economic boom.