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GGR 124

Urbanization, Contemporary
Cities and Urban Life

Week 5
October 8, 2013

How are cities being linked in

the global economy?

Decline of manufacturing sector in North
America and Europe
Impacts varied
Cause: emergence of sunbelt and the NIDL


Knox and McCarthy, 2012

New Flexible Systems of Production


Economies of scale
Mass production
Product standardization
Assembly line
Mass consumption
Blue-collar worker
Unions and benefits


Economies of scope
Small-batch production
Flexible specialization
Information technologies
Niche markets
White-collar worker
The feminization of the work

Neo-Fordist Urban Restructuring

1973 Arab-Israeli War, embargo on oil, Oil
Crisis and rise in oil prices rise
US experiences stagflation
Economic Stagnation no growth in jobs or
Inflation Interest rates rise, debts rise
Keynesian shift to Neoliberalism
Roll-back Neoliberalism
Roll-out Neoliberalism

Neo-Fordist Economic
Restructuring, Informational Cities
Effects of Neo-Fordist Economic Changes:
Production Processes: computerized assembly lines
Transaction processes: inventory, credit cards,
Circulation processes: fibre optics, internet,

Economic Relations change Social Relations

Worker and Boss
State and public services

New city centre

Knox and McCarthy, 2012

Rising Economies
Cities and Corporate Headquarters
Producer Service Economies
Research and Development
New Industrial Spaces
Cultural Industries

Global urban change

Technologies are intensifying global urbanization
Digital divide/ splintering urbanism

Enclaves of international finance

Enclaves of technology
FDI hot spots
Back-office enclaves
Logistic zones

Is this what new global urbanism looks like?

Global impacts on LDCs

Neocolonialism and NIDL

Presstv, 2013

Producing the Global South

For the sake of humanities, 2013

Global impacts on LDCs

Neoliberal ideologies and policies
Debt is an efficient tool. It ensures access to other peoples
raw materials and infrastructure on the cheapest possible
terms. Dozens of countries must compete for shrinking
export markets and can export only a limited range of
products because of Northern protectionism and their lack of
cash to invest in diversification. Market saturation ensues,
reducing exporters income to a bare minimum while the
North enjoys huge savings. The IMF cannot seem to
understand that investing in [a] healthy, well-fed, literate
population is the most intelligent economic choice a
country can make.
Susan George, 1990

Economic and Social Outcomes

More exports
Price wars and race to the bottom
Less government spending
Cheaper labour
Capital flight and economic collapse
Blame on the third world economies
Social unrest and violence

Competition between companies involved in

manufacturing in developing countries is
often ruthlessdescribed as a race to the
bottom. With each passing day it becomes
more difficult to obtain contracts from one of
the mega-retailers without hiring child labor,
cheating workers on overtime pay, imposing
merciless quotas, and operating unsafe
John Madeley, 1999

Export Processing Zones, 2003

Barton, 2013)

Global impacts on EPZs

Labour standards
Freedom of association
Working time
Health and safety
Wages and benefits

Global impacts on LDCs


Munir Uz Zaman/Agence France-Presse Getty Images




Womencrossingtheborder, 2012

Urbanization in the Global South

Over urbanization megacities and
primate cities
Informal sector and limited urban
Poverty and quartering
Environmental degradation