Chapter 4 Economic geography and the world system
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Space has always represented a barrier to the onward flow of capitalist development, though one whose potency has tended to decline steadily over time. This does not mean that the forces of agglomeration and urban growth are waning – they have, if anything, been reinvigorated by the economic changes of the last few decades – but it does help to explain why individual urban clusters all over the world are increasingly becoming bound up with one another in relationships of trade and social exchange. In addition, as the old fordist regime has waned, and the new economy has advanced, so the world-wide core–periphery spatial order has undergone significant erosion. As the finale of the present chapter will show, these intertwining trends, involving renewed agglomeration, ever-extending spatial interlinkage, and a fading core–periphery system, are manifest in the emergence of a new macro-geography, one of whose most visible components is a far-flung network of global city-regions. The main physical expressions of the new capitalism in general, and the cognitive–cultural economy in particular, are concentrated in these city-regions.

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