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The Global City

The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo

Saskia Sassen
Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 412
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  • Book Info
    The Global City
    Book Description:

    This classic work chronicles how New York, London, and Tokyo became command centers for the global economy and in the process underwent a series of massive and parallel changes. What distinguishes Sassen's theoretical framework is the emphasis on the formation of cross-border dynamics through which these cities and the growing number of other global cities begin to form strategic transnational networks. All the core data in this new edition have been updated, while the preface and epilogue discuss the relevant trends in globalization since the book originally came out in 1991.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4748-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. One Overview
    (pp. 3-16)

    For Centuries, the world economy has shaped the life of cities. This book is about that relationship today. Beginning in the 1960s, the organization of economic activity entered a period of pronounced transformation. The changes were expressed in the altered structure of the world economy, and also assumed forms specific to particular places. Certain of these changes are by now familiar: the dismantling of once-powerful industrial centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and more recently in Japan; the accelerated industrialization of several Third World countries; the rapid internationalization of the financial industry into a worldwide network of transactions....


    • [PART ONE Introduction]
      (pp. 17-21)

      A leading argument in this book is that the spatial dispersion of economic activities and the reorganization of the financial industry are two processes that have contributed to new forms of centralization insofar as they have occurred under conditions of continued concentration in ownership or control. The spatial dispersion of economic activity has brought about an expansion in central functions and in the growing stratum of specialized firms servicing such functions. Reorganization in the financial industry has been characterized by sharp growth, rapid production of innovations, and a proliferation of financial firms. These conditions, I argue, shifted the point of...

    • Two Dispersal and New Forms of Centralization
      (pp. 22-34)

      Do changes in the global flow of factors of production, commodities, and information amount to a new spatial expression of the logic of accumulation? Addressing this question entails a detailed examination of how that which we call the global economy is constituted. What are the geographic areas, industries, and institutional arrangements that are central to the current process of globalization, and how do they differ from those of earlier periods? Extracting theoretical insight from this empirical documentation requires elaborating the category of capital mobility to take it beyond the mere movement of capital across space. It must allow for the...

    • Three New Patterns in Direct Foreign Investment
      (pp. 35-63)

      Direct foreign investment (DFI) is one of several indicators of the processes of capital relocation discussed in the preceding chapter. It is a useful indicator because much of the geographic dispersion of production and of the reorganization in the financial industry are international rather than domestic. The intent here is not an exhaustive description of stocks and flows, but an identification of key patterns, magnitudes, and countries involved. The evidence discussed in this and the next chapter points to a realignment in basic trends. The massive increases in direct foreign investment by all developed countries in the 1960s and especially...

    • Four Internationalization and Expansion of the Financial Industry
      (pp. 64-84)

      Since the early 1980S there has been a pronounced and rapid transformation in the volume of the financial industry, in its organization, and in the supply of and demand for financial products and services. Fundamental conditions for this transformation were the opening up of national markets through deregulation; a massive influx of funds into the markets through the growing participation of major financial institutions, notably insurance companies, pension funds, and trust banks; and the rapid production of innovations that transformed a large amount of financial assets into marketable instruments. Together, these developments had the effect in the early 1980s of...


    • [PART TWO Introduction]
      (pp. 85-89)

      The central pattern emerging from the discussion in the preceding chapters is the vast growth in international financial activity and service transactions. A second major pattern is the increasing concentration of this activity in highly developed countries, and particularly in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. This indicates a transformation in the composition and the geography of the global economy.

      Several aspects are of interest to an inquiry about the place of cities in this transformation. Producer services, financial transactions, and the complex markets both entail are a layer of activity that has been central to the organization...

    • Five The Producer Services
      (pp. 90-125)

      Advertising, accounting, and business law are all producer services that were already in use in the late 1800s or early 1900s. And Taylor’s time and motion studies are an early example of management consulting. How does the growth and role of these services in the current period differ from their growth and role in earlier decades? A similar question can be raised about finance, as it has long been an important industry in the major industrial economies. Does its growth over the last decade, especially in international and nonbank finance, represent a distinct phase? The evidence to be discussed strongly...

    • Six Global Cities: Postindustrial Production Sites
      (pp. 126-167)

      How does the spatial and technical transformation of economic activity described in the preceding chapters play itself out in major cities? A central thesis of this chapter is that the industrial recomposition in the economic base of global cities is not simply a result of the general shift from a manufacturing to a service economy. Besides the vast set of activities that make up their economic base, many typical to all cities, these global cities have a particular component in their economic base—a component rooted in those spatial and technical changes—that gives them a specific role in the...

    • Seven Elements in a Global Hierarchy
      (pp. 168-192)

      New York City, London, and Tokyo have long been centers for business and finance. What has changed since the late 1970s is the structure of the business and financial sectors, the magnitude of these sectors, and their weight in the economies of these cities. In an earlier period, a limited number of large corporate headquarters and a few large commercial banks dominated a market characterized by high levels of regulation, low inflation, and moderate but predicable growth rates. High inflation in the 1970s, growing use by corporate borrowers of the Euromarkets, and the Third World debt crisis changed these conditions....


    • [PART THREE Introduction]
      (pp. 193-196)

      The next two chapters address the social order associated with this particular form of growth, which, according to standard economic criteria, is very successful, makes use of our most advanced technologies, and utilizes a large proportion of highly educated workers. Conceivably, this core of leading industries in the premier cities of the world economy could have the overall effect of raising the quality of life and the quality of jobs for large segments of both the work force and the rest of the population in these cities. And, conceivably, the profits and tax revenues these sectors have generated, even if...

    • Eight Employment and Earnings
      (pp. 197-244)

      The admittedly provocative inquiry set out for Part Three of the book begins, in this chapter, with a straightforward description of the overall economic base of each of these cities. The focus is particularly on the employment and earnings distribution in each city and how they compare with that of the corresponding country. It completes the picture introduced in the preceding chapters, focused largely on the leading sectors of the economy—finance and producer services—with some detail on the place of manufacturing and services in these cities. This chapter seeks to establish whether the occupational and income distribution of...

    • Nine Economic Restructuring as Class and Spatial Polarization
      (pp. 245-320)

      Employment and earnings statistics, such as those discussed in the previous chapter, provide only a partial description of the socioeconomic conditions in New York, London, and Tokyo under the current economic regime, one characterized by the dominance of producer services and finance. They leave out components of the economic and social order that are not captured through these kinds of figures and especially under-count, or do not count at all, employment in informal and casual labor markets as well as industrial homework. Nor do these statistics describe the specific labor markets in which employment and earnings are embedded. Finally, employment...


    • Ten A New Urban Regime?
      (pp. 323-338)

      Do the changes described in this book amount to a significant transformation in the place of New York, London, and Tokyo in their respective nation-states and in the world economy, and, secondly, have those changes brought about a significant realignment in the social and economic structure of these cities? Are we seeing a new type of city, the global city? And if so, how does this affect the urban hierarchy? Is there a new type of urban hierarchy, a new urban system, as a consequence of the global role of major cities, or is this transformation just affecting these cities...

    (pp. 339-354)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 355-390)
  12. Index
    (pp. 391-397)