Remaking the Global Economy: Economic-Geographical Perspectives

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Edited by: Jamie Peck & Henry Wai-chung Yeung

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    List of Tables

    • 1.1 Main contributions of Peter Dicken to interdisciplinary studies of global economic change
    • 2.1 The top 15 TNCs ranked by foreign assets and transnationality index, 1999
    • 3.1 Canadian urban development projects associated with trans-Pacific families
    • 4.1 Capitalization of world stock markets
    • 5.1 Vivendi Environnement's revenues by sector
    • 5.2 Vivendi Environnement's revenues by region
    • 10.1 Modes of neoliberalization
    • 10.2 Spaces of neoliberalization
    • 12.1 State projects and state strategies
    • 12.2 A strategic-relational approach to state spatiality
    • 12.3 Two strategies of state spatial regulation: spatial Keynesianism and glocalization

    List of Figures

    • 1.1 Dicken on the geographical organization of TNC production units
    • 1.2 Dicken on the spatial evolution of TNC activities
    • 2.1 The relationship between firms ranked by transnationality index and foreign assets, 1999
    • 2.2 Transnationality index by country of origin, 1993 and 1999
    • 3.1 Hong Kong immigration flows to Canada, 1962–2000
    • 4.1 Net capital flows to developing countries by type of flow, 1970–1988 (in $ billion)
    • 4.2 Global capital, trade and foreign currency transactions (in $ billion)
    • 4.3 Net flows of investment into developing countries, 1991–2001, as a percentage of GDP
    • 4.4 Circuits of capital and capital switching
    • 4.5 The left-over financial world: capitalization of world stock markets as a percentage of global total
    • 9.1 The cluster chart: actors in an industrial cluster
    • 9.2 Forces that make a cluster innovative and dynamic: Porter's diamond

    Notes on Contributors

    Ash Amin is Professor of Geography at the University of Durham, UK. His most recent publications include: Cities for the Many not the Few, Policy Press, 2000 (with Doreen Massey and Nigel Thrift), Cities, Polity Press, 2002 (with Nigel Thrift), Placing the Social Economy, Routledge, 2002 (with Angus Cameron and Ray Hudson), Cultural Economy: A Reader, Blackwell, 2003 (edited with Nigel Thrift), Organisational Learning: From Competences to Communities, Oxford University Press, 2003 (with Patrick Cohendet).

    Neil Brenner is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Metropolitan Studies at New York University, USA. He is co-editor, with Nik Theodore, of Spaces of Neoliberalism: Urban Restructuring in Western Europe and North America (Blackwell, 2002). His research and teaching focus on critical urban studies, state theory and socio-spatial theory.

    Neil M. Coe is Lecturer in the School of Geography, University of Manchester, UK. His main research interests within economic geography include the dynamics of cultural industries and the service sector, processes of internationalization and globalization, and transnational corporate activity. He has published several papers on the software and computer service industries of the UK, Ireland and Singapore. His current research focuses on transnational IT-sector linkages between Southeast Asia and the US, and the internationalization of retailing.

    Michael Conroy is Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, USA.

    Peter Dicken is Professor of Geography at the University of Manchester, UK. His major research interests are in global economic change and transnational corporations. The Fourth Edition of his book on the global economy, Global Shift, is published in 2003 by Sage.

    Meric S. Gertler is Professor of Geography and Planning, and holder of the Goldring Chair in Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada. He also co-directs the Program on Globalization and Regional Innovation Systems at the University of Toronto's Centre for International Studies, where he carries out research on the role of institutions and social context in the shaping of corporate practices in North America and Germany. His publications include The New Industrial Geography (with Trevor Barnes, Routledge, 1999), The Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography (with Gordon Clark and Maryann Feldman, Oxford University Press, 2000), Innovation and Social Learning (with David Wolfe, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2002) and Manufacturing Culture: The Governance of Industrial Practice (Oxford University Press, 2003).

    Amy Glasmeier is Professor of Geography at the Pennsylvania State University, USA.

    Ray Hudso n is Professor of Geography and Chair of the International Centre for Regional Regeneration and Development Studies at the University of Durham, UK. His recent publications include Producing Places (Guilford, 2001) and Digging Up Trouble: The Environment, Protest and Opencast Coal Mining (Rivers Oram, 2000, with Huw Beynon and Andrew Cox). His research interests are in geographies of economies, political economies of uneven development, and issues of territorial development, especially in the context of Europe. Current research includes work on the socio-spatial transformation of the former UK coalfields and on the links between corporate restructuring and regional development strategies in Europe.

    Philip F. Kelly is Assistant Professor of Geography at York University, Toronto, Canada. With research interests in the political economy of Southeast Asian development, he is currently examining the linkages between Filipino transnational migration and local labour market processes. He is the author of Landscapes of Globalization: Human Geographies of Economic Change in the Philippines (Routledge, 2000) and coeditor of Globalisation and the Asia Pacific: Contested Territories (Routledge, 1999).

    Roger Lee is Professor of Geography and Head of Department of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London, UK. He is the co-editor (with Jane Wills) of Geographies of Economies (Arnold, 1997) and (with Andrew Leyshon and Colin Williams) of Alternative Economic Geographies (Sage, 2003). His research interests are in the social construction of economic geographies and the role of money and the social relations of capitalism in linking the personal and the global and so constraining and enabling such social construction and the possibilities of proliferative geographies.

    Anders Malmberg is Professor in the Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University, Sweden. His research interests cover the relation between industrial change and regional economic development, with particular focus on spatial clustering and localized processes of innovation and learning. He has published a number of papers on these issues in recent years, and is the co-author of Competitiveness, Localised Learning and Regional Development (Routledge, 1998).

    Kris Olds is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. His recent publications include (as co-editor) Globalisation and the Asia-Pacific: Contested Territories (Routledge, 1999), Globalisation of Chinese Business Firms (Macmillan, 2000), and (as author) Globalization and Urban Change: Capital, Culture and Pacific Rim Mega-Projects (Oxford University Press, 2001). He was based at the National University of Singapore from 1997 to 2001, and has a PhD in Geography from the University of Bristol (1996). His research currently focuses on global city formation processes in Pacific Asia, urban redevelopment processes, global economic networks, and transnational communities.

    Jamie Peck is Professor of Geography and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. He is author of Work-Place: The Social Regulation of Labor Markets (Guilford, 1996) and Workfare States (Guilford, 2001) and coeditor (with Kevin Ward) of City of Revolution: Restructuring Manchester (Manchester University Press, 2002). With research interests in economic regulation and governance, labour markets and urban political economy, he is currently working on a study of contingent labour in the US.

    Erica Schoenberger is Professor of Geography at the Johns Hopkins University, USA.

    Nigel Thrift is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Bristol, UK.

    Adam Tickell is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Bristol and has previously lectured at the universities of Leeds, Manchester and Southampton. He is editor of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers and review editor of the Journal of Economic Geography. His work explores the geographies and politics of international financial reform, governance structures in the UK, and the reconfiguration of the political commonsense.

    Henry Wai-chung Yeung is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, National University of Singapore. His research interests cover broadly theories and the geography of transnational corporations, Asian firms and their overseas operations and Chinese business networks in the Asia-Pacific region. He is the author of Transnational Corporations and Business Networks (Routledge, 1998), Entrepreneurship and the Internationalisation of Asian Firms (Edward Elgar, 2002), and Chinese Capitalism in a Global Era (Routledge, 2003). He is also the editor of The Globalisation of Business Firms from Emerging Markets, two volumes (Edward Elgar, 1999) and co-editor of Globalisation and the Asia Pacific (Routledge, 1999) and The Globalisation of Chinese Business Firms (Macmillan/Palgrave, 2000).

    Preface

    This collection has been assembled to mark the many contributions that economic geographer Peter Dicken has made in a professional career spanning three-and-a-half decades. It is testimony to the widespread respect and affection for Peter that no one we approached about contributing to this book, despite their busy schedules, hesitated before saying yes. Well, this is not exactly true. There was one contributor who was at first somewhat reticent—Peter himself. He has never been the one to blow his own trumpet and was understandably unsettled at the prospect of the two of us blowing it for him. But it soon became clear that none of us had any interest in producing a book that was retrospective or introspective, even if Peter deserves a little hagiography. Reflecting Peter's own approach, we wanted the book to look forward and outward, to take stock of what economic geographers have contributed to the ‘globalization debate’ and to explore new frontiers in this vibrant field of interdisciplinary engagement. And the book would also, we hoped, demonstrate some of the range and depth of what economic geographers can bring to the table in globalization studies. With contributions from Asia, North America and western Europe, the key issues explored in Remaking the Global Economy include the globalization of firms, people and capital (Part One), organizational learning and business knowledge, industrial districts and innovation systems (Part Two), and ideologies of neoliberal globalization and interactions between firms, regions and nation states (Part Three). The book therefore seeks to engage with some of the fundamental strands of the globalization debate, building upon Peter Dicken's compelling insight that globalization must be understood as an ongoing geographical project.

    Today, the global economy is more complex and interdependent than ever before, for all the important historical continuities. The study of globalization is now firmly on the agenda across the social sciences. Economic geographers have developed distinctive perspectives on the globalization process, eschewing ‘flat-earth’ visions of homogenization and convergence in favour of more nuanced treatments of globalization as an uneven, differentiated and dynamic process. Globalization, in other words, has a geography and it is a geography that is on the move. This is where the chapters collected in this volume make their contribution. Notwithstanding the book's roots in economic geography, each chapter connects to and further develops interdisciplinary insights into the complex process of economic globalization and its impact on the spatial organization of firms, markets, industries, institutions and regions.

    The book is organized into three parts. Part One explores some of the fundamental ways in which global flows can be considered to be ‘grounded’; Part Two unpacks the spatiality of global knowledge and learning; and Part Three analyses the reconfiguration of global rule regimes and their implications for territorial development. As a prelude to this, Chapter 1 assesses the contributions of Peter Dicken's work in relation to the interdisciplinary field of ‘globalization studies’. Here, our aim is to outline how this particular economic-geographical perspective has enriched understandings of patterns and processes of globalization, together with the attendant ways in which global economic relations have been remade. Through the lens of Dicken's work, we also seek to identify some insights into how economic-geographical perspectives might be better integrated with the evolving field of ‘globalization studies’ in cognizant disciplines like global political economy, international economics, strategic management and international business studies. The chapter therefore opens up some analytical ‘problematics’ to be followed up by subsequent chapters.

    One of the most intractable problems for contemporary studies of global economic change is the question of what exactly flows across territories and places in the form of globalization processes. The four chapters in Part One of this volume examine how these flows are geographically constituted, exploring the ‘groundedness’ of global flows of firms, people and capital. The spatiality and territorialization of globalization processes typically evades the analytical attention of most social scientists, though for many geographers these have been amongst the most important issues in play. In unpacking the spatiality of globalization, geographers have contributed to the understanding of how global flows are grounded in specific places, regions and territories. This grounding of global flows is important in economic-geographical studies for two reasons. First, without an appropriate appreciation of where globalization takes place (literally as well as metaphorically), a key explanatory dimension of globalization—as a set of tendencies or processes that (unevenly) bring together distant and disparate locales within an increasingly interdependent world—is missed. Second, the resultant networks of global connections should not be conceived as just ‘hanging in the air’, constituting an exterior and superordinate force to which localities and regions must respond. In some accounts, for example, globalization is caricatured as a highly abstract system of ‘flows’ operating across boundaries, places being reduced to mere nodes in these floating network-systems. Absent from this kind of sociological topography of globalization is an appreciation of the complex ways in which such flows, networks and connections operate unevenly across space, and how they ‘touch base’ to bring about growth, prosperity and development for some places, while marginalizing others.

    In this sense, the four chapters in Part One provide a much-needed discussion of how global flows are grounded in historically and geographically specific formations. For Peter Dicken in Chapter 2, the ‘global’ corporation is somewhat less global than the name suggests because, despite their rapidly expanding foreign activities and investments, many of today's largest transnational corporations (TNCs) are indeed grounded in specific places. In fact, ‘global’ corporations turn out to be quite deeply embedded in their home economies, culturally and economically. Dicken's analysis problematizes the globality of ‘global’ corporations, separating a complex reality from the business- and media-driven hyperbole. His concern to reveal the hidden geographies of globalization dovetails with those of Neil Coe, Philip Kelly and Kris Olds who, in Chapter 3, seek to make sense of the deepening ‘cross-border’ flows of people in relation to the production of transnational economic spaces. For them, the movement of people and the attendant reorganization of social networks across geographic space not only challenges the conventional, capital-centric view of globalization, but also opens up new horizons for analysing the groundedness of global flows of labour, expertise and social networks. Through two case studies of transnational flows of people grounded in the property and the information technology sectors, their chapter shows that globalization and transnationalism are different facets of the same profoundly geographical restructuring of economic activity.

    An equally valid analytical strategy, of course, would focus on what might be thought of as the newly constituted ‘remote’ spaces in a globalizing world—the marginalized spaces. Marginalization is the other side of the geographical coin to the hypertrophied ‘over-inclusion’ of places like world cities and global financial centres. In globalization studies, the sine qua non for economic globalization is the hyper-mobility of financial capital. Paradoxically though, this very hyper-mobility is supported by a global financial architecture that is constructed around ‘strong nodes’ like global financial centres. The process of financial globalization, however, cannot be reduced to stories of Tokyo, London and New York, because exclusion and marginalization are just as much parts of this process. The two chapters by Roger Lee and Erica Schoenberger speak to these concerns by virtue of their analytical and empirical focus on marginalized and ‘emergent’ spaces within global flows of capital. They use different readings of actually existing globalization processes to raise searching questions about the sustainability of these processes. In Chapter 4, Lee analyses how the globalization of financial capital hinges on the construction of uneven development, producing what he terms the ‘marginalization of everywhere’. Using emerging markets as the central theme, he demonstrates how certain economies and places are purposefully marginalized in the global (re)switching of different circuits of capital. The following contribution from Erica Schoenberger in Chapter 5 also explores some of the neglected spaces of globalization, tracing the emergence of a new field of international direct investment in environmental management. Through the case of a French TNC in the water and waste treatment businesses, she analyses how the globalization of environment management represents a key moment in capital's restless search for spatial and institutional ‘fixes’ in the face of inherent crisis tendencies. Again, this ‘new frontier’ for global corporations exhibits a very particular geography of unevenness, exclusion and concentration.

    These close tracings of the globalization process at work stand in sharp contrast to the polarized accounts found in much of the globalization literature. Too often, this takes the caricatured form of a contest between two (apparently irreconcilable) positions—‘everything has changed, thanks to globalization’ versus ‘nothing has changed, we've been there before’. Geographers have tended to cut a different path through the globalization debate. They have been rather less concerned with measuring quantitative change in the global economy, narrowly conceived, than with the causative foundations underlying these changes and the altered qualitative relations—especially between places—that they entail. The influential body of work that has been produced on technology, learning and knowledge is a prime illustration of such concerns. The transposition of technologies across space remains highly problematical, not least because the spatial transfer of knowledge and practices is inherently connected to the social organization of these technologies and their variable embeddedness in networks, organizational practices and places. Modes of social learning and technology transfer are constituted both geographically and through network relations.

    The four chapters in Part Two critically assess the spatiality of global learning and knowledge from economic-geographical perspectives. In Chapter 6, Meric Gertler contributes to the recent debate around the convergence-divergence of different ‘varieties of capitalism’ in the global economy. He reveals how the processes of cross-border learning and practice are shaped by the cultural and institutional specificities of different places. Supporting Dicken's arguments in Chapter 2, Gertler concludes that the spatial life of learning and knowledge significantly constrains the ‘globality’ of firms. In a parallel fashion, Ash Amin in Chapter 7 explores the spatiality of tacit learning in distributed organizations, identifying qualitatively differentiated spaces of corporate learning within the globalizing economy. Focusing on the everyday interactions in globalizing organizations, he questions the deterministic view of spatial proximity in organizational learning and proposes, instead, a more relational view of the interaction between space and learning. Here, he shows analytically how organizational learning occurs through the emergence of different ‘communities of practice’, drawing on spatially ‘stretched’ connectivities. On the one hand, relational proximity makes it more difficult to ground global connections because it exists in organizational rather than physical spaces. On the other hand, however, different spaces of tacit knowledge and practices can be brought together through relational proximity among actors.

    In Chapter 8, Nigel Thrift takes on some of these claims on the nature of everyday learning and knowledge, drawing attention to what he sees as a proliferation of new practices of capitalist power—what he calls the might of ‘might’. He contends that new forms of creativity and standardization enable new possibilities for firms and organizations to (re)engineer space and time in the service of greater returns and profitability. Focusing on different circuits of spatial and temporal knowledge, he theorizes how we might think of global knowledge in radically different spatial and temporal terms. In Chapter 9, Anders Malmberg examines one peculiar form of spatial arrangement, clusters, in order to demonstrate the importance of both local milieus and global connections in the processes of social learning and knowledge transfer. In recent years, geographers have (re)discovered several spaces in which globalization processes appear to touch base. Since Alfred Weber and Alfred Marshall, agglomeration has occupied a special place in the nomenclature of economic geography (and, more recently, in the ‘geographical economics’ of Paul Krugman and Michael Porter). The growth and development of industrial clusters and similar forms of concentrated territorial development seems to reaffirm the role of agglomeration economies. The variegated capacities of recently emergent agglomerations in ‘holding down’ global flows, however, have only been explored in rather stylized terms. Malmberg insists on the need for greater clarity in the analysis of cluster dynamics, especially relating to the global connections of actors in these clusters.

    Economic globalization is clearly not just about a set of material processes operating across national boundaries. As Part Three of the volume demonstrates, these processes are also located in the ideological realm, since ‘globalization’ is in part a political project focused on the reconfiguration of global rules and regimes. Countering the pervasive conception of globalization as a triumphal ‘end state’ of market capitalism, a wide range of social theorists have contended that processes of globalization must instead be understood to be politically mediated, socially structured and discursively framed. Political-economic discourses relating to issues like the evisceration of the state, the imperatives of labour-market flexibility and trade union ‘realism’, or the necessity of ongoing liberalization in trade and financial markets, even if they are presented as naturalized ‘facts of life’, do not spring automatically from some underlying economic logic. Instead they must be understood to be socially produced discourses that reflect, serve and help realize political-economic interests. By insistently questioning the politics of globalization, geographers have helped to specify the causal agency of globalization processes, their inescapably political construction and their variable concrete manifestations.

    In Chapter 10, Adam Tickell and Jamie Peck explore the theoretical and political status of neoliberalism in remaking the global economy. The ascendancy of neoliberal ideologies in the course of the last three decades has shadowed the intensification of ‘real’ globalization processes in the economic realm, such that ultimate causality and logic priority are difficult to determine in any kind of unambiguous way. Orthodox globalization narratives and neoliberal political discourses both tend to privilege ‘market rule’, presenting this as a self-evident and practically irresistible future. In a sense, then, neoliberalism and globalism are mutually naturalizing discourses. There is a need to deconstruct both of these discourses in the context of contemporary political-economic conditions. In reality, neither globalism nor neoliberalism are as totalizing and monolithic as they may seem at first, despite the fact the effects of both are undeniably pervasive. Tickell and Peck make the case for a close interrogation of the neoliberal political project in a way that is sensitive to its very uneven geographies and its complex evolution over time. They also contend that the ideological dynamics of the process of neoliberalization cannot be reduced to the aggregate effects of merely ‘local’ political agency (as if, say, Thatcherism + Reaganomics … = neoliberalism), but must be traced out in ways that are attentive both to the ‘generic’ character of neoliberalism and its local manifestations.

    These issues relating to the remaking of the global economy through neoliberal globalism are further explored and interrogated in the following three chapters. In Chapter 11, Amy Glasmeier and Michael Conroy trace the evolution and governance of the emerging global trade regime. They make a powerful argument for an economic-geographical perspective on the tradeoffs and effects of the trade regime, which tends to exclude most developing countries from the potential upsides of globalization. More specifically, they examine the contested legitimacy of the World Trade Organization, the high-handedness of the US Trade Representative's Office and the over-reaching claims of wealthy countries concerning the use of natural resources and the management of intellectual property rights. These are the kinds of policy questions on which economic geographers can, and should, be making a mark. In making such a mark, a premium will be placed on the kinds of grounded knowledges of the global that are a key feature of economic-geographical contributions.

    The last two chapters by Neil Brenner and Ray Hudson focus on ongoing development in urban governance and production systems in an integrating Europe. In Chapter 12, Brenner examines urban entrepreneurialism in western Europe in relation to the ongoing processes of economic globalization, European integration and the crisis of the Keynesian welfare national state. He draws upon Bob Jessop's strategic-relational approach to develop a spatialized state theory, arguing that recent transformations reflect a deepening neoliberalization of urban politics. Brenner also underscores an important exception to the claims of ultra-globalists: nation-states in western Europe are not ‘captives’ of globalization processes; they are key institutional players in these processes. The way in which governmental institutions enact globalization processes—at scales ranging from the urban to the supranational—is represented here as a new form of ‘state spatial strategy’. Many of these observations on urban transformations in western Europe are echoed in Ray Hudson's analysis of global production systems and European integration. In Chapter 13, Hudson argues that rapid transformations in production systems within Europe are as much outcomes of corporate strategies, orchestrated from the headquarters of ‘global’ corporations, as they are consequences of changing political-economic circumstances of Europe. His analysis shows once again that firms and states are very much active agents in remaking the global economy; they are certainly not merely passive actors in, nor are they simply victims of, abstracted globalization processes. By the same token, the process of European integration is not producing a flattened economic landscape in which equilibrating forces hold sway, but on the contrary, is generating new forms of uneven spatial developments and new landscapes of political-economic power.

    The contributions collected here, then, underline the distinctiveness of economic-geographical perspectives on the globalization process, a field that has been profoundly shaped by Peter Dicken's work. We hope that Remaking the Global Economy will stand as one of the many markers of Peter's conspicuous contributions, while also opening up new terrains for spatialized globalization studies. On a more personal note, our editor at Sage, Robert Rojek, deserves special thanks for his faith in this project, which at times must have sorely been tested by us. And we are grateful also to our contributors for enduring the torrent of emails and for always responding so positively. Nick Scarle has diligently drawn some of the figures at very short notice. Finally, and on behalf of the contributors as well as ourselves, we would like to think that this volume represents a modest down-payment on the debts—both personal and professional—that we owe Peter. There will always be a little bit of Manchester in the two of us, and more than anyone it was Peter who put it there. As well as teaching us how to do economic geography, he showed us how to enjoy it at the same time. And it is thanks to Peter that we still both wince every time we see a split infinitive. (If there are any here, it is because we left them in on purpose.) He has been his usual, quietly supportive self during the production of this book, even though there was a sense in which the very thought of it seemed to unnerve him. In a sense, though, this made the project even more enjoyable. We always said that Peter couldn't retire until this book came out, which just added to the list of excuses we were accumulating for delaying publication. Now it's out, it is a nice thought that maybe he'll take it with him on that first, symbolic walk to the Post Office.

    Jamie Peck and Henry Yeung, Madison and Singapore/Manchester

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