China could be the next country to go bust, if its headlong rush to build ever-taller skyscrapers is a guide to its future economic health.
According to a study by Barclays Capital, the mania for skyscrapers over the last 140 years is a sure indicator of an imminent crash.
It points out that the construction boom that threw up New York's Chrysler and Empire State buildings preceded the New York crash of 1929 and Great Depression.
More recently, Dubai built a forest of skyscraping offices, hotels and apartment buildings, including the world's tallest, the Burj Khalifa, before it got into terrible financial difficulties. In 2010 Dubai had to be bailed out by its neighbour, Abu Dhabi, to avoid going bankrupt.
Bar Cap's report said: "Thankfully for the world economy, there is not currently a skyscraper under construction that is planned to overtake the height of the Burj Khalifa."
However, BarCap said the "unhealthy correlation" between construction of the world's tallest buildings and economic crashes was likely to ensnare China, which is home to half of the world's skyscrapers currently under construction.
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A branch of economics founded by followers of US economist Henry George has charted property collapses over the last 100 years and found that booms create the conditions for a downturn around every 18 years.
Fred Harrison, a Georgist and research director of the Land Research Trust, wrote in his 1997 book The Chaos Makers that "by 2007 Britain and most of the other industrially advanced economies will be in the throes of frenzied activity in the land market … Land prices will be near their 18-year peak … on the verge of the collapse that will presage the global depression of 2010."