Space of Globalization: Reasserting the Power of the Local

The George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics, January 1, 1997 | Go to article overview

Space of Globalization: Reasserting the Power of the Local


Spaces of Globalization: Reasserting the Power of the Local, edited by Kevin R. Cox. New York: The Guilford Press, 1997. Pp. 292. $27.00 (softcover) .

Taking on the widely held assumption that the forces of economic globalization are increasingly creating economic structures beyond the power of regulation by individual states, Spaces of Globalization purports to show how many if not most aspects of economic life are fundamentally local.

At the heart of the debate between the global and the local is the question of the ease of international flow of products and the necessity of territorialization of production systems. International flows can be fluid, as in the case of financial services (where issues of transportation costs do not arise), or can be viscous, as in the case of foreign production (where shipping costs make production non-competitive with local production). Territorialization of production systems can also be high or low. Examples of highly territorialized production systems include industrial districts, which allow the collection of various symbiotic heavy industries to reduce production costs through physical proximity. In contrast, service industries with low economies of scale benefit less from territorial proximity.

The matrix of these variants makes up a description of the various potential markets. Highly territorial forms of production with high international flows occur where some assets of productionwhether raw physical materials or skilled labor or capital-are territorially specific, but the market is global. Alternatively, the market may be global, but without territory-specific requirements for production. Local markets and territorial restrictions on production, as in the case of centralized production of products customized to meet local tastes may also exist. Finally, of course, there may be no territorial restrictions on production, and no internationalization of the market either. …

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