Starbucks Helped Brew Meltdown—Just Check a Map

Coffee empire's rise tracked (and fueled) housing's, and store locator mirrors trouble spots
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2008 3:48 PM CDT
Customers gather at a Starbucks store in Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A simple tool could hold the key to predicting where the financial crisis will strike next, Daniel Gross writes on Slate: Starbucks’ Internet store locator. “Having a significant Starbucks presence is a pretty significant indicator of the degree of connectedness to the form of highly caffeinated, free-spending capitalism that got us into this mess.”

That Starbucks’ spread could be seen as an index of globalization isn’t too shocking, but Gross describes a correlation between a financial capital’s concentration of stores (New York City's 256, say) and the country’s financial health. Starbucks provided “the caffeine that enabled deal jockeys to stay up all hours putting together offering papers for CDOs, and helped mortgage brokers work overtime processing dubious loan documents.”