ENVS 2200 Chapter Notes -Post-Fordism, Multinational Corporation, Global City
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Week 6, Oct.18 2013
Urban Regions I – Restructuring in Global City Regions
Freidmann and Wolff’s argument is about the global world cities emerging as the “new
breed of global command and control centers within the new international division of
labor (NIDL).” It means that global world cities like London, Paris, Tokyo, and many
more grow into capitalist central hubs and monopolize on skilled labor, extract surpluses
and spatially dominate. Further views were that transnational corporations are responsible
for changing the world economy in dramatic ways; where banking and financially
significant sectors, administration, and various headquarters now concentrate global
cities. These global cities in turn create a tight-knitted and interconnected network of a
Kim and Short expand on Friedmann and Wolff’s view and go on to explain how a
transnational corporation like Nike was established. Many Kondrateiff cycles are
discussed where Ford Motor Company manufactured 2/5th of car production in the USA
at one time and later cycles when manufacturing declined and post Fordism took place.
The manufacturing decline was in highly unionized places due to the high labor turnover
and labor demands of Ford labors. This decline paved way for Post Fordism, where now,
there was flexibility in production and labor, as women and children were the new low-
Kim and Short gave the example of Nike, the shoe making transnational corporation.
Nike has no fixed factory or workers; the shoes are made under contract by a range of
manufacturers in developing countries like China, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. This shows
that capital can roam but the labor is fixed creating an uneven bargaining arrangement.
Previously, Ford Motor’s labor union went on strikes and asked for better work
conditions and raise, however post Fordism allowed such a global shift that now Nike’s
labor earning unfair minimum wage cannot bargain, because there is a great reserve of
labor and manufacturers that Nike can use all over the world.
I believe the positive aspect of transnational corporations which is making global cities
and economic globalization is that, developed, developing and even to a small extend
underdeveloped countries can reap benefits of enjoying fast moving fashion of mass
produced goods that can be transported anywhere in the world and also give cheap labor
jobs to very poor communities in underdeveloped countries. The negative aspect of
transnational is the spatial dominance and control it has globally. If a state does not want
to cooperate with transnational corporations due to their personal political agenda, they
would fear that other nations can collude against them and so they would give-in to
establishing these global cities and economy. However, if one economy collapses, this
can mean a disastrous domino effect like those seen in many economic recessions today.
Global cities and economy can be both good and bad for the world depending on which
peripheral regions we look at.
1. John Friedmann and Goetz Wolff, “World-city Formation: An Agenda for Research and Action”
In Brenner and Keil, pp. 57-66
2. Yeong-Hyun Kim and John Rennie Short, “The Fordist City”, Cities and Economies (London:
Routledge, 2008) 37-47.
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