Apple and China’s problems show that today’s titans may not rule the world tomorrow by Will Hutton

Our mental geography is bounded by what has gone before. What has happened in the recently remembered past is most likely to continue. Inflection points, when trends decisively change, are more infrequent than the many instances when things go on as they have done.

Two of today’s trends seem unstoppable. China’s astounding growth will continue, so the story runs, underwriting its arrival as the second economic superpower. To get a share in that China action, underpinning the entire growth of Asia, is one of the prime economic arguments for Brexit. Abandon sclerotic Europe, embrace the prosperity of Asia – even if it is a world of semi-democracy at best, authoritarian government at worst. It can be guaranteed to grow.

Second, the west coast big tech companies, from Facebook to Apple, are the new wonders of the universe. They are the bewilderingly successful face of the informational, data-driven economy whose value continues to soar. Apple, then Amazon, became the first trillion-dollar corporations last year, both exemplars of how first movers in innovation with their transformative technologies have become 21st-century titans, driving stock market growth and changing society alike.

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