Remember Thomas Friedman's McDonald's theory of international relations? The thinking was that if two countries had evolved into prosperous, mass-consumer societies, with middle classes able to afford Big Macs, they would generally find peaceful means of adjudicating disputes. They'd sit down over a Happy Meal to resolve issues rather than use mortars. The recent unpleasantries between Israel and Lebanon, which both have McDonald's operations (here and here, respectively) put paid to that reasoning. But the Golden Arches theory of realpolitik was good while it lasted.
In the same spirit, I propose the 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.
Via Slate Magazine.