For the international economy, the Starbucks stops here


Starbucks on the Circle

Originally uploaded by digital_don

Do you remember the McDonald’s theory of international relations? As far back as 1986, Thomas Friedman posited the idea (the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention) that no two countries with branches of McDonalds ever subsequently went to war. Yes, we know its not exactly true, but it’s an interesting theory. Well Daniel Gross of Slate has brewed-up the following Starbucks theory of international economics:

“The higher the concentration of expensive, nautically themed, faux-Italian-branded Frappuccino joints in a country’s financial capital, the more likely the country is to have suffered catastrophic financial losses.”

Gross reasons that the recession was triggered by a housing bubble in places like California and Florida and an excess in liquidity in New York. According to the Starbucks Store Locator, these are aksi  the highest concentrations of the Seatle-based coffee chain. What Gross would make of London, he doesn’t say very much. London is of course the centre of Britain’s housing bubble and its nationwide credit mania. It also has one of the highest concentrations of frothy coffee shops in the world, between 184 and 224 depending on how you toggle the store locator. Gross also notes, that in the coutries that have (so far) avoided the financial crisis (Scandinavia and the Netherlands) there is hardly any presence of Starbucks at all.