chapter  7
12 Pages

The Changing Fortunes Of Local And Regional Economies

In Chapter 5 we examined globalization and the emergence of the idea of a global economy as a way of signifying a fundamental shift in the nature of economic life. The discourse of globalization commonly encourages us to think that the global is now the scale at which economic fortunes and events are determined and, accordingly, that other spatial scales such as localities and regions are less significant than they have been in the past. This view of the relationship between the ‘local’ and the ‘global’ is commonly invoked by powerful economic and political interests as a way of licensing some very particular changes in the way economies and societies are organized. The notion of ‘global competition’ in particular is commonly deployed to justify specific political and economic programs, especially of a neoliberal nature, such as those described in Chapter 6. In Britain, for example, the specter of global competition has been used to promote ever greater degrees of labor market flexibility as workers are urged to abandon ‘outdated’ and ‘outmoded’ practices in order to become more ‘competitive’ on the global stage. More generally taxpayers and residents are urged to contribute to the attempt of their city, region or country to maintain or develop its

league tables such as the Global Competitiveness Index developed by the World Economic Forum and shown in Table 7.1 has also encouraged the view that nations, and regions and localities within them, are in keen competition with one another (Schwab 2009).