ENVS 2200 Chapter Notes -Barely Breaking Even
Tutorial 5, 11 Oct. 2012
Week 5: Global Urbanization III –Globalization, Global Cities, Migration
The main argument of Parker’s excerpt is that globalization is a “conspiracy of leading
multinationals bent on world domination and the further emiseration of the developing
world” (116). One of the ideas that support his argument is when he explains that
globalization; when labor, capital, goods and communications can be exchanged without
national borders, has used technology as an important aspect to block or censor
communications, giving power to ‘directors of economic, political and military forces’.
Parker states economic growth is due to the mercantile and capitalism brought to cities by
multinational companies (MNCs) and the profit is being made at the expense of unfair trade
and natural resources for these sole world corporations that have created a global market.
Short’s view is that of ‘globalization-urbanization nexus’ which states that different cities
with different backgrounds experience similar economic, cultural and spatial changes. He
says that this globalization has facilitated urban change. Which means these global markets
mentioned by Parker then lead to make ‘global cities’ that provide facilities, infrastructure
and tax regimes to MNCs furthering their profits, which then result in population rise and
urbanization of global cities.
Parker states that Globalization is not economic but rather very political. As major world
cities control great proportion of telecommunications traffic, the resources, jobs, growth and
labor all get concentrated into a small spaced city, resulting in for example the data traffic of
Paris which is ¾ of the entire France. Similarly, Short criticized the methodological bias
towards the hierarchy categorization of cities like our recognization of London, New York
and Tokyo as the top three world cities with great political power, trade, banking and
transportation. They both agree that politics plays an important role in globalization.
Furthermore, Short argues that the ‘world cities’ label focuses narrowly on economic change
and excludes cultures and immigrant communities. Additionally, he criticizes that there is a
geographic bias towards western cities, which is why developing cities are being overlooked
and not integrated into the global economy. This view goes hand in hand with Parkers view
that industrial cities with MNCs want a reserve of cheap labor to be measured in millions so
their profit margins can be high.
Both Parker and Short imply that Capitalism and Industrialists create global cities that
connect the world for political and personal profits of MNCs. I agree with them and disagree
with the World Bank views that poverty and life expectancy decreased in India due to
globalization and therefore global integration is an antidote to global poverty. Even though
short-term improvements can be shown in economic and financial aspects with the increase
in jobs and growth of global cities; the human happiness, living standards and rich to poor
gap is still an issue. Hence, giving temporary satisfaction to workers still does not explain the
greater fall an economic crisis can cause to poverty stricken places, in the end making this
gap hardly amendable. Conclusively, growth and globalization increase does not necessarily
mean a better living for all the global countries.
1. Simon Parker, Urban Theory and the Urban Experience (London: Routledge, 2004) pp. 111-119
2. Yeong-Hyun Kim and John Rennie Short, “Globalization and world cities” Cities and Economies
(London: Routledge, 2008) 65-79