Market, and the Urban Regions:
The Case of Southern Germany
Globalization: this one word evokes the far-reaching anticipation of change, the feelings of uncertainty, fear, and, sometimes, hope for future well-being that are so common in old industrialized regions and countries. In public debate, globalization seems responsible for a variety of very different changes currently taking place. This might seem to make it easy for scholars to dismiss the concept. However, it has gained significance as transnational corporations skip over national boundaries in their strategic organization of functions, sites, and flows, producing an increasing tertiarization in all highly developed countries. 1 In addition, global financial markets have emerged, defying national regulations and financial policies. Both processes were facilitated by new technologies that resulted in substantial reductions in the transport costs of goods, personnel, and information.
In economic terms, globalization can be interpreted roughly as an extension of markets. Since Adam Smith, scholars have agreed on the idea that the division of labor is dependent on the extent of the market. In consequence, globalization means a fast-growing specialization of economic activities among sectors, firms, and regions. This, in turn, makes the presence of nodes increasingly necessary to further the exchange of commodities, personnel, and information and to coordinate and control production -- in short, to govern the contemporary capitalist system. The current debate on world cities and global cities makes it obvious that scholars see the urban system as enabling the emergence of globalization while at the same time being affected by it. 2