Posted by Simon
In his book World Without End one of Ken Follett’s characters explains that rebuilding the cathederal steeple is necessary for the survival of the city.
He argued that a tall steeple could be seen from far away and would attract people who had things to trade. Trade was necessary for the town to grow and so a steeple was a necessary commercial venture as well as a tribute to god and the church. This argument was made to get the merchants in town to pitch in the money to build the steeple and it may or may not be true. We do know that some towns, ventures, churches and instutions thrive and some do not.
My question is in this era of electronic communication; What are the modern steeples? Advertising is the obvious answer but there are other currents running through society that cause some ideas to become wildly popular and some never reach visibility. Malcolm Gladwell considers this in The Tipping Point but he is not able to say “If you do ______ your venture will succeed.”
An Italian hill town
So what are the steeples today that draw our tastes one way or the other? Why New York and London? Not Buffalo or Newcastle?