The New Global Economy: Time-Space Compression, Geopolitics, and Global Uneven Development

John Agnew

Abstract


Two ideas have dominated discussion in recent studies of the social andpolitical impacts of globalization by those who think that globalization has had real e?ects and is not simply a synonym for the neo-liberal policies insti-tuted by many national governments beginning in the 1980s. The ?rst is the idea that everywhere in the world is becoming alike economically and culturally as a consequence of globalization. This is a scaling up from the national to a global scale of the old idea of modernization. From this perspective, common global norms about conduct, consumption standards, and cultural practices are spreading everywhere (John Meyer at Stanford University [e.g. Meyer 1996] and his students are perhaps representative of this thrust). This global modernization is often seen as brought about by causes implicit in a second idea, although proponents of the second idea may well not endorse the ?rst or vice versa. This is that current globalization is about the shrinking of the world because of revolutionary changes in communication and transportation technologies. In the long-term this process of time-space compression will produce greater economic similarities across places but immediately this need not be the case. Rather, di?erences between places may in fact intensify as involvement in a world of ?ows makes the characteristics of this or that place make the place more competitive globally. In the end, however, di?erent places will establish niches for themselves within the global economy, even if there is dislocation in the short-term.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2001.167

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