The Global City

EPUB EBook by Saskia Sassen

EBook Description

The author analyzes a paradoxical geographical trend of the simultaneous dispersal of productions and centralization of producer services. The Global City EPUB EBook Caused by the centralization of services, a new types of cities—the global cities—emerge, bringing in new economic and social orders.

The triggers of this trend include the shift of emphasis from productions to services, the financial deregulations, new communication technologies and so on. However, the essential mechanism behind it is the increase in geographical mobility of resources and interconnectivity of our global society. Thanks to the deregulation and new technologies, plants can now easily build connections to manufacturing resources, including energy, materials, and capitals. For each step of the manufacturing chains, a plant can move nearer to the vital resources it needs. On the other hand, it is more difficult for the head quarters to connect to increasingly complex producer services, such as accounting, law, advertising, design, architecture, cross- EPUBborder connections and so on. When the costs of building new connections exceed the benefits of proximity to resources, the head quarters will move to geographic locations where a large amount of services concentrate—the global cities. As more head quarters move in, global cities attract further concentration of more complex services. This “rich-get-richer” preferences of geographical relocations and connections form the hierarchy of global city network.

Within a global city, the same preferences of connections also exist and change the city’s social orders. Unlike the manufacturing productions, which involves enormous works in similar processes, the producer services require business connections between services providers and social connections between experts. Providers and experts with higher degree of connections will attract more connections and thus have higher productivity and higher incomes. This enforce the power-law distribution of wealth, and therefore intensify inequality and polarization in employment and earnings. This new social order will undermine the social stability of the global cities and increase the costs of maintaining the large amount of connectivities and the high degree of complexity. When these costs exceed the benefits of geographical centralization, the global cities may become less economically and socially durable.

The trends discussed above are partially caused by the shift of manufacturing from developed to less-developed countries. However, in the near future, due to the game-changing technologies like assembly robotics and 3D-printing, the manufacturing industries may dramatically shrink or even disappear. At that time, these new economic and social orders will be brought to the global scale, and the global cities will become increasingly critical. Better understandings of the trends discussed in this book can help us better prepare for the future of our global society. Like this book? Read online this: Managing Water Resources in a Time of Global Change, Global Crises, Global Solutions.

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