Monday, November 01, 2010

També a casa nostra?

In this view, globalization equates, in the first instance, to the unification of social space. This unification brings about a global network society and ‘new’ economy based on the space of flows and on timeless time. Space is defined as the material support of time-sharing social practices. But while in earlier epochs space was prescribed by physical contiguity, today, space is articulated through the circuitry of electronic impulses (micro-electronics, telecommunications, computer processing, broad casting systems etc). This space is fundamentally as borderless as it is timeless. As Manuel Castells has described it, at the coordinates of this circuitry, there emerge ‘nodes’ and ‘hubs’ which are, indeed, specific places,
with well-defined social, cultural and functional characteristics, as well as, physical locality.
(Think of Silicon Valley in California, the ‘Cambridge Corridor’, and the ‘silicon valley’ of Bangalore, India). Between the nodes and hubs traverse the flows of capital, of knowledge and information, of technological designs and controls and of other organizational interactions, of images, sounds and symbols. These flows dominate the places, and not the other way around. The nodes and hubs are hierarchically organised depending on the weight of their relative functions in the network. Thus, in the networks of the global economy only segments of economic structures, countries, regions and populations are linked up, and they
are linked up in proportion to their particular position in this, the newest, international division of labour. Other sectors, agents and local groups are disconnected and marginalized.
But crucially, the global network hierarchy continually adapts and adjusts to its competitive, information driven environment with the result that sometimes places are switched off, or down graded while others are being incorporated, upgraded or even created.. Thus the global economy is highly dynamic, highly exclusionary and highly unstable in its boundaries. It is characterised by a variable geometry that dissolves historical, economic geography.

This transformationalist position allows for a degree of optimism about the prospects of inclusion into the globalised economy. The pursuit of the right kind of social and economic policies by national governments (development of information infrastructure, education, and training for the ‘new’, ‘knowledge’, ‘digital’ or ‘real time’ economy being the most important ones) can make a difference in so far as it may succeed in placing segments of businesses and of workers in any country within the loop of global business flows. However, this view is also marred by pessimism about the systemically exclusionary nature of the process itself.

Industry and Trade in a Global Economy, Unido
Punt 1.1

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