Below is a reading passage in my English exercise book:

Oxford is most definitely prettier. It is located in the central England. It has a population of about 90,000, of which a large number work in or for the university. This is obviously what the city is famous for but in terms of getting to know the country, what is really of interest is the British Leyland car factory at Cowley. This is huge, employing about 20,000 people, yet, because of the university, it is usually forgotten. Spend a day looking round the works, seeing how they make the cars. Fascinating. Or stroll up the Cowley Road and watch the world walk with you.

I don't really understand the meaning of the phrase "watch the world walk with you". How can the world walk with somebody?

Could you kindly explain the meaning of this expression?

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    The world means everybody. A similar phrase is the world and his wife. But the exercise book (like the second phrase) is out of date: British Leyland was renamed The Rover Group in 1986, and Oxford's population has almost doubled. – Weather Vane Nov 19 '17 at 15:50
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    Keep in mind that literature often uses words or phrases that are not common in actual current-day spoken language. This especially applies to non-fiction books, to "old" books, and (from my point of view in North America) especially to "old British non-fiction books". – ashleedawg Nov 19 '17 at 18:22

The standard expression is so common in English it even gets its own dictionary entry...

watch the world go by - to look at people as they go past (Cambridge - also Macmillan, Longman,...)

Normally this refers to something (particularly, older) people do while sitting down (on a seat in a park, public thoroughfare, etc.). But because OP's example involves the addressee being recommended to take a stroll along Cowley Road (a bustling major road running into Oxford city centre High Street) the writer has simply adapted the standard usage in a "one-off" way to suit the specific context.

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