According to the UAE's newspaper The National, America is falling behind when it comes to the tallest buildings.
Of the top ten in the world, only the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) made the list – and it's number 9. And in just a few short years, there won't be any American buildings on the list at all.
In the next decade six new buildings will be added to the list, all of them in Asia and the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Tower set to open in 2018. It will be the tallest building in the world, as well as the first to pass 3000 feet. That's 564 feet taller than the current champ – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
I've spent time in the Burj and it's an amazing structure. But it's kind of sad to think that even with all of our American exceptionalism, this country won't have a building that compares.
Because it's not just the world's tallest buildings moving east. Danny Quah, a professor at the London School of Economics, has calculated that the world's economic center – measured by looking at income averages around the world – has also shifted east, from the Transatlantic to somewhere over the Arabian Peninsula.
What's more, if current trends continue, that center will shift again to about where Singapore is in the future. But is there a connection between tallest building and strongest economy?
An economist named Andrew Lawrence is behind something called the "skyscraper index," which he says shows that the construction of the these massive buildings is a good way to predict the onset of economic changes.
Generally speaking, a skyscraper begins construction when the economy is growing. This is then followed by a sharp downturn. But once a skyscraper is finished, according to the index, the economy is climbing back.
One World Trade Center – the Freedom Tower – will be America's tallest tower when it's completed next year. So while even though Americans' confidence in our leaders and the economy continues to sink, our new tallest building seems to indicate things are looking up.