Regions, Globalization, and the Knowledge-Based Economy

Regions, Globalization, and the Knowledge-Based Economy

Regions, Globalization, and the Knowledge-Based Economy

Regions, Globalization, and the Knowledge-Based Economy


A rich and informative book which considers the key dynamics and characteristics of the new global economy. How can we explain the paradox of growing transnationalization of the production of goods and services and the tendency for certain kinds of activities to be concentrated or 'clustered' in one place? In today's changing economic environment how do firms make decisions about location and about the development and deployment of their distinctive capabilities? John Dunning heads a team of leading international contributors in this follow-up to the highly successful Governments, Globalization, and International Business (OUP, 1997).


The underlying theme of this volume is the impact of the increasing globalization of economic activity, and the advent of the knowledge-based economy, on the spatial distribution of economic activity, both between countries and within countries. More especially, it seeks to reconcile the paradox of 'slippery space', as demonstrated by the growing transnationalization of the production of goods and services (UN 1998); and that of 'sticky places' as shown by the increasing tendency for certain kinds of economic activity—and particularly knowledge-intensive activities—to be concentrated, or clustered, in limited spatial areas (Markusen 1996).

These twin forces, both of which have been separately identified and extensively analysed in the literature may be considered as opposite sides of the same spatial coin. Not only this, in this volume, they are viewed from the lens of several scholarly disciplines, each of which is advancing our understanding of one of the most significant trends of our day and age.

The volume is divided into main parts. Part one, which comprises Chapters 1-4, first identifies the key analytical issues later to be examined in some depth by several authors in the volume. It then goes on to present an industrial geographer's, an economist's, and two business school scholars' perspectives on how contemporary economic events are requiring us to rethink the size, shape, and contents of the optimal spatial area for analysing the range of wealth-creating activities of enterprises, but also for the tasks of governments. Several scholars, for example, have suggested that the role of national governments is declining, while that of supranational and subnational authorities is becoming more significant. Others—notably Michael Porter—have asserted that the locational decisions of enterprises, particularly multinational enterprises (MNEs), are becoming an increasingly important aspect of their global competitiveness. What truth is there in these suggestions and assertions?

The second part of the volume looks at the role of macroregions as units of spatial analysis. After discussing the trend towards regional economic integration, and how this affects, and is affected by, foreign direct investment, Chapters 6 and 7 present two case studies—one on how recent events in Europe have affected the activities of both intra- and extra-European Union MNEs; and the other on the impact of NAFTA on the structure of US industry. Each of these chapters suggests that regional groupings are likely to play a more important role in the locational decisions of corporations in the twenty-first century, and on the attitudes of both regional and national governments to upgrading the competitiveness of the resources and capabilities within their jurisdiction. The important question as to whether regionalization is best thought of as an integral part of globalization, or as a substitute for it, is also touched upon in this part of the

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