Cities around the world are striving to be global. This book tells the story of one of them, and in so doing raises questions which are essential for all cities. These questions concern identity, place, and political responsibility in the changing geographies of our times. The book also tells the story of the rise of a new class, of deepening inequality, and of the geographical imaginations that are mobilised to legitimate the increasing dominance of these powerful metropoles. In so doing, it sets the global city in its wider geographical and political context. World City focuses its account on London, one of the greatest of these global cities. London is a city of delight and of creativity, of the generation of vast wealth and of acute poverty. It also presides over a country increasingly divided between North and South and over a neo-liberal form of globalisation the deregulation, financialisation and commercialisation of all aspects of life that results in an evermore unequal world. World City explores how we can understand this complex narrative and asks a question that should be asked of any city: what does this place stand for? This book will appeal to students of human geography, politics and sociology as well as to the general reader.
About the Author
Doreen Massey is Professor of Geography at the Open University.
Table of Contents
Preface: After the Crash ix
Introduction: ‘the future of our world’? 1
Part I Inventing a world city 27
1 Capital delight 29
2 ‘A successful city, but . . .’ 54
3 Imagining the city 73
Part II The world city in the country 95
4 The golden goose? 97
5 An alternative regional geography 114
6 Who owes whom? 130
7 Reworking the geographies of allegiance 149
Part III The world city in the world 163
8 Grounding the global 165
9 Identity, place, responsibility 177
10 A politics of place beyond place 188
Concluding reflections 211
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Doreen Massey, Professor of Geography at the Open University, has written a brilliant study of London. It is a city of workers, and still of manufacturing industry, claimed by a minority for finance capital.
London¿s economy is still closely tied into Britain¿s economy. London¿s main export market is not abroad, but the rest of Britain: 28.5% of all London¿s exports go to the rest of Britain, 12.33% go abroad; 39.88% of financial services go to the rest of Britain, 31.46% abroad; and 32.89% of business services go to the rest of Britain, just 12.08% abroad.
Yet the City of London is a key base of class power, of command and control, where finance capital rules. The City¿s dominance was a class victory for Thatcherism, and has led to growing exploitation and so to growing inequality and poverty both here and abroad. As Massey writes, `a new imperial order has taken hold¿.
The Labour government embraced the Thatcher counter-revolution and spread it to the regions, trying to incorporate the whole of Britain into Thatcherism, by urging the regions to embrace finance, destroy industry and compete to attract capital and labour. So the Treasury blames regional inequality on regions¿ `market failures¿, not on the failure of the whole market model.
Finance capital demands the free movement of capital and labour. So in 2004, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the increased immigration into London from the new EU members. Later, governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King admitted, ¿Without this influx to fill the skills gap in a tight labour market it is likely that earnings would have risen at a faster rate.¿ Massey too notes immigration¿s `depressive effect on wages at the lower end¿.
She also points out that commitment to immigration conflicts with commitment to equality between nations, writing, ¿Unrestricted immigration can result in increased inequality between countries.¿ Immigrant workers, for instance nurses from Ghana, are subsidising London, `a perverse subsidy, flowing from poor to rich¿. Voices from the South, including Nelson Mandela, have called for these flows of labour to be constrained or stopped.
`London-as-global-city¿ is hospitable both to immigration and to finance capital. But London as Britain¿s capital city needs neither immigration nor finance capital; it needs to be first and foremost a city for Britain.