National Geographic : 2000 Jun
HUs isk\ 15eepiN IN ueNtIHtI N AIC'S Have cca5eD to S N': Dusk tias Lome too eaily. r am DRO1W As the city gets richer, the poor Along with its cosmopolitanism and tol erance, London's surging economy is drawing a new wave of migrants-not from the Carib bean or Africa but from across the Channel. "London is very attractive to French people at the moment," said Christophe Beauvilain, a 32-year-old executive at Goldman Sachs, as we rushed across the fields of Picardy on Eurostar, the high-speed rail link between Paris and Lon don. It was Sunday night, and the train was packed with French returning to London after a weekend at home. "It is much more dynamic in terms of fashion or night life. And it's more entrepreneurial. All the headquarters of the big financial institutions are here. You make more money. The taxes are lower." Since the 16th century London's financial district, known as the City or the Square Mile, has been one of the most powerful business centers in the world. Today, with 539 foreign banks, it is the most international: More than 437 billion dollars flows through its foreign currency markets every day, far more than any where else in the world. The value of London's economy-$162 billion-is larger than that of many countries, including Poland, Singapore, and even Switzerland. Pinstripes and polish mark Leadenhall Market in the City, London's square-mile financial district and the world's largest hub of international banking. "City men can afford the luxury of a shine," says Kathryn Ford (right). Life is less glossy for scores of youths who "sleep rough" on the streets, where crime and drug use are rising. Says out reach worker Steve Marshall (above, at far right), "They're in a very vulnerable position."