London’s Economy Essay

King (1990, page x) argues that the dissolution of empire has beencritical to the growth of world cities. How far does this apply toLondon?

Modern patterns of development and growth have been shaped andinfluenced by the historical context of colonialism. Within thiscontext relationships between capitalist and pre-capitalist states orcolonies helped forge a world economy, which would later lead toprocesses of globalisation and the current economic world order.Expansion in the world economy has been exacerbated by the freer flowof labour, goods, services and capital, which are features of thepost-war, post-colonial world. King contends that these factors havebeen “critical to the growth of world cities.” (King, 1990: x)Urbanisation in many post-colonial states has been rapid, supported bytrade with a greater number of nations compared with that of thecolonial period. Indeed, many colonial nations have now followed theirown paths of industrialisation, instead of relying primarily on theirexport of natural resources such as timber; their economies arebecoming more diverse and are now linked within a global network oftrade and commerce that is enabling them to develop significantly.Existing at the heart of these states are primary cities, theadministrative and economic centres for their new global roles.

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World cities can be defined by their size, population and area; theyare usually the economic hub of the country in which they are seats ofpower and dominate in the cultural arena with their iconicarchitectural distinctiveness and the importance of their historicalroles. “World cities lie at the junction between the world economy andthe territorial national state.” (Friedmann and Wol…

…c function as aglobal centre for banking and financial trading, which increasinglydetermine its international role and its patterns of modern growth.


Coupland, Andy: ‘Every Job an Office Job.’ And ‘Docklands: Dream orDisaster?’ In Thornley, Andy (ed) (1992) ‘The Crisis of London.’Routledge.

Friedmann, J and Wolff, G. (1982) ‘WorldCityformation: an agenda forresearch and action.’, International Journal of Urban and RegionalResearch: 6.

Hall, P (1977 2nd edition) ‘The World Cities.’ Weidenfield andNicholson, London. Ch 2.

King, AD (1990) ‘Global Cities: Post-Imperialism and theInternationalization of London.’ Routledge.

Porter, Roy (1994) ‘London: A Social History.’ Penguin, London.

Shappard, Francis (1998) ‘London: A History.’ Oxford University Press,Oxford.

Wells, H.G. (1908) ‘Tono-Bungay.’ London: Oldhams Press.


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