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Economic geography a contemporary introduction




ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
A Contemporary Introduction

Neil M. Coe, Philip F. Kelly and
Henry W.C. Yeung

�f\ Blackwell

'-b Publishing


,@'!,IJ07 by Neil M. Coe, Philip F. Kelly, and Henry W.C. Yeung
�he River' by Bruce Springsteen. Copyright © 1980 Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP).
Reprinted by permission. International copyright secured. All rights reserved.
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First published 2007 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd
6

2010

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Coe, Neil M.
Economic geography : a contemporary introduction I Neil M. Coe,
Philip F. Kelly, and Henry W.C. Yeung.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4051-3215-2 (hardback : alk. paper)
ISBN 978-1-4051-3219-0 (paperback : alk. paper)
1. Economic geography. 2. Economic development. I. Kelly, Philip F., 197011. Yeung, Henry Wai-Chung. III. Title.
HF1025.C73 2007
330.9-dc22

2006037361

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CONTENTS

List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Boxes
Preface
Acknowledgements
Part I Conceptual Foundations
1 A Geographical Approach to the Economy
2 Economic Discourse: Does 'the Economy' Really Exist?
Part II Dynamics of Economic Space
3 Uneven Development: Why Is Economic Growth and
Development So Uneven?
4 Commodity Chains: Where Does Your Breakfast Come From?
5 Technology and Agglomeration: Does Technology Eradicate
Distance?
6 Environment/Economy: Can Nature Be a Commodity?

x1
xiv
xvi
xvm
xxiv

1
3
31
57
59
87
119
153

Part III Actors in Economic Space

185

7 The State: Who Controls the Economy: Firms or Governments?
8 The Transnational Corporation: How Does the Global Firm
Keep It All Together?
9 Labour Power: Can Workers Shape Economic Geographies?
10 Consumption: Is the Customer Always Right?

187
223
254
284


vi

CONTENTS

Part IV Socializing Economic Life

319

Culture and the Firm: Do Countries and
Companies Have Economic Cultures?
12 Gendered Economic Geographies: Does Gender Shape
Economic Lives?
13 Ethnic Economies: Do Cultures Have Economies?

348
377

Index

406

11

321


DETAILED CONTENTS

List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Boxes
Preface
Acknowledgements
Part I

Conceptual Foundations

x1
xiv
xvi
xvm
xxiv
1

1

A Geographical Approach to the Economy
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Poverty and Economics: Explaining What Went Wrong
1.3 Geographical Perspectives on the Economy
1.4 A World of Difference: From Masochi to Manhattan
1.5 Overview of the Book

3
3
7
11
21
25

2

Economic Discourse: Does 'the Economy' Really Exist?
2.1 Introduction
2.2 The Taken-for-granted Economy
2.3 A Brief History of 'the Economy'
2.4 Expanding the Economy beyond the Economic
2.5 Representing Economic Processes
2.6 Summary

31
31
32
38
45
48
52

Part II
3

Dynamics of Economic Space

Uneven Development: Why Is Economic Growth and Development
So Uneven?
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Uneven Development - Naturally!

57
59
59
61


DETAILED CONTENTS

viii

3.3
3.4
3.5
3.6
3.7
3.8
3.9
4

Marxian Approaches: Conceptualizing Value and Structure
The Fundamentals of Capitalism
The Contradictions of Capitalism
Placing and Scaling Capitalism
Putting People in the System
Going beyond Capitalism
Summary

63
66
68
72
77
82
84

Commodity Chains: Where Does Your Breakfast Come From?
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Capitalism, Commodities and Consumers
4.3 Linking Producers and Consumers: The Commodity Chain
Approach
4.4 Re-regulating Commodity Chains: The World of Standards
4.5 The Limits to Ethical Intervention?
4.6 Summary

87
87
89

5 Technology and Agglomeration: Does Technology Eradicate
Distance?
5.1 Introduction
5.2 The Rise of 'Placeless' Production?
5.3 Understanding Technological Changes and Their
Geographical Impacts
5.4 Proximity Matters: Traded and Untraded Interdependencies
within Clusters
5.5 Neither Here Nor There: Thinking Relationally
5.6 Summary
6

Environment/Economy: Can Nature Be a Commodity?
6.1 Introduction
6.2 How Is Nature Counted in Economic Thought?
6.3 Incorporating Nature, Commodification, Ownership and
Marketization
6.4 Valuing Nature: The Commodification of Environmental
Degradation
6.5 Bringing Nature to Life
6.6 Summary

Part III Actors in Economic Space
7 The State: Who Controls the Economy: Firms or Governments?
7.1 Introduction
7.2 The 'Globalization Excuse' and the End of the Nation-state?

94
107
112
115
119
119
121
123
136
145
149
153
153
156
159
170
177
180
185
187
187
189


DETAILED CONTENTS

7.3 Functions of the State (in Relation to the Economy):
Long Live the State!
7.4 Types of States Today
7.5 Reconfiguring the State
7.6 Beyond the State?
7.7 Summary
8 The Transnational Corporation: How Does the Global Firm
Keep It All Together?
8.1 Introduction
8.2 The Myth of Being Everywhere, Effortlessly
8.3 Revisiting Chains and Networks: The Basic Building Blocks
of TNCs
8.4 Organizing Transnational Economic Activities 1: Intra-firm
Relationships
8.5 Organizing Transnational Economic Activities 2: Inter-firm
Relationships
8.6 The Limits to Global Reach?
8.7 Summary
9

Labour Power: Can Workers Shape Economic Geographies?
9.1 Introduction
9.2 Global Capital, Local Labour?
9.3 Geographies of Labour: Working under Pressure
9.4 Labour Geographies: Workers as an Agent of Change
9.5 Beyond Capital versus Labour: Towards Alternative Ways
of Working?
9.6 Summary

ix

191
200
210
218
219
223
223
225
226
228
236
247
251
254
254
257
262
269
278
281

10 Consumption: Is the Customer Always Right?
10.1 Introduction
10.2 The Consumption Process
10.3 The Changing Geographies of Retailing
10.4 The Changing Spaces of Consumption
10.5 Consumption, Place and Identity
10.6 Summary

284
284
286
291
302
311
316

Part IV Socializing Economic Life

319

11 Culture and the Firm: Do Countries and Companies Have
Economic Cultures?
11.1 Introduction
11.2 Firms Are the Same Everywhere, or Are They?

321
321
325


DETAILED CONTENTS

X

11.3
11.4
11.5
11.6
11.7

Fragmenting the Firm: Corporate Cultures and Discourses
National Business Systems
Regional Cultures
Multiple Cultures, Multiple Scales
Summary

12 Gendered Economic Geographies: Does Gender Shape Economic
Lives?

12.1 Introduction
12.2 Seeing Gender in the Economy
12.3 From Private to Public Space: Women Entering the
12.4
12.5
12.6
12.7

Workforce
Gendering Jobs and Workplaces
Home, Work and Space in the Labour Market
Towards a Feminist Economic Geography?
Summary

327
334
339
343
345
348
348
350
355
358
367
371
373

13 Ethnic Economies: Do Cultures Have Economies?
13.1 Introduction
13.2 'Colour-blind' Economics
13.3 Ethnic Sorting in the Workforce
13.4 Ethnic Businesses and Clusters
13.5 The Economic Geographies of Transnationalism
13.6 The Limits to Ethnicity
13.7 Summary

377
377
378
380
386
394
400
402

Index

406


LIST OF FIGURES

1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
1.6
2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5
2.6
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
3.5
4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5

Map of Niger in West Africa
The PBS logo for its coverage of famine in Niger, 2005
Place, space, and scale
Spatial scales
Wall Street, New York City
An economic-geographical perspective on the global economy
The economy as an organic entity
The components of gross domestic product
The uncontrollable market as a raging bull
Irving Fisher's 'Economy' apparatus, as used in his lectures
Irving Fisher's lecture hall apparatus, simulating the economy,
c.1925
The economic iceberg and the submerged non-economy
Industrial restructuring of the 1970s in the United States
Waves of development in the Asian Newly Indstrializing
Economies
A landscape of contemporary capitalism: an industrial estate in
the Philippines
Galleries and apartments now occupy nineteenth-century
industrial infrastructure in Liverpool
Spatial divisions of labour
Geography is a flavour .. .
The jewellery shop window - the start or the end of a complex
commodity chain?
Food geographies - a basket of produce bought in a UK
supermarket
The basic commodity or production chain
The coffee value chain

4
5
13
19
22
26
33
34
37
42
42
46
73
74
76

77

80
91

92
94
95
96


xii
4.6
4.7
4.8
4.9
4.10
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.5
5.6
5.7
5.8
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4
6.5
6.6
7.1
7.2
7.3
7.4
7.5
8.1
8.2
8.3
8.4
8.5
8.6
8.7
8.8
9.1
9.2
9.3
9.4

LIST OF FIGURES
The geography of the hard disk drive commodity chain
The catfish commodity chain
Producer-driven and buyer-driven commodity chains
The coffee commodity chain: the changing institutional
framework
Look for the label: Fairtrade coffee and bananas consumed in
the UK
The global network of financial centres
Kondratriev long waves and their characteristics
A key node in the global container system: the Port of Singapore
The offshoring of services: recruiting call centre workers in the
Philippines
Dell's global operations, 2001
Schematic representation of the Holl ywood film production
agglomeration in Los Angeles
The Motorsport Valley in the UK
A multi-faceted cluster? High-tech business in Silicon Valley,
California
Location map of proposed mine project in Rosia Montana,
Romania
The economy as a system of material flows
The Karabash copper smelter, Russia
Government involvement in natural resource development
Modes of urban water supply provision
A Fairtrade coffee network connecting Peru and the UK
The border crossing between China's Shenzhen and Hong Kong's
Lo Wu
Major types of economic policies pursued by nation-states
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, the United States
The Forbidden City, Beijing, China
The expansion of the European Union since 1957
Different forms of organizing transnational operations
BMW's global production networks
Geographies of transnational production units
Making a BMW: Munich and beyond
Japanese transplant networks in the US in the early 1990s
The automotive cluster, Rayong Province, Southern Thailand
Fast food chains in the Caribbean
A petrochemical cluster in Jurong Island, Singapore
The Take
Forces of labour market restructuring
Labour control regimes in Southeast Asia
Worker dormitories in Batam, Indonesia

98
100
101
106
111
122
124
126
129
136
138
142
145
154
160
161
165
169
179
195
196
200
201
215
229
230
232
235
239
242
246
249
256
265
268
269


LIST OF FIGURES
9.5
9.6
10.1
10.2
10.3
10.4
10.5
10.6
10.7
10.8
10.9
11.1
11.2
11.3
11.4
11.5
11.6
12.1
12.2
12.3
12.4
13.1
13.2
13.3
13.4

Skilled workers on the move: 'foreign talent' in Singapore's
financial district
The spread of the GM UAW dispute
Christaller's hexagonal central place theory pattern
The global distribution of Tesco stores, 2004
A Tesco hypermarket in Bangkok
The development of Chicago's suburban shopping centres,
1949-74
Britain's regional shopping centres
Major themes and attractions in Las Vegas
A themed landscape: Las Vegas, Nevada
The same the world over? Coca-Cola in St. Lucia, the Caribbean,
and Starbucks in the Forbidden Ciry, China
'Cosmopolitans' and 'Heartlanders' in Singapore
The BMW headquarter office in Munich, Germany
Xerox's first copier in 1949
Canon's first copying machine in 1970
Bill Gates and Microsoft Corporation, 1996
Li Ka-shing and the Cheung Kong Group as of 25 March 2003
Location map of Silicon Valley and Route 128, USA
Labour force participation rates, selected countries
Women walk back to their dormitories from factories on the
Indonesian island of Bintan
The 'Singapore Girl': feminine work personified
Median journey-to-work distances of men and women in four
local areas in Worcester, Massachusetts (a) ciry of Worcester,
(b) Worcester metropolitan area
Singapore's Little India
A Filipino store in Toronto
Distribution of Chinese population and shopping malls in the
Toronto Metropolitan Area
Resource flows to developing countries (in billions of dollars)

xiii

271
275
292
294
296
297
299
309
310
312
314
323
331
331
335
336
342
355
357
363
369
387
388
394
397


LIST OF TABLES

4.1
4.2
4.3
5.1
5.2
6.1
6.2
7.1
7.2
8.1
8.2
9.1
10.1
10.2
10.3
11.1
12.1

12.2
12.3

Characteristics of producer-driven and buyer-driven chains
The world of standards
Regional share of IS09001:2000 certificates (December 2004)
Alternative production systems in after-Fordism
The characteristics of 'just-in-case' and 'just-in-time' systems
Estimates of costs to Singapore resulting from the 1997 haze
A comparison of forest certification schemes
Types of states in the global economy
Major regional economic blocs in the global economy
Subcontracting of the world's top ten notebook brand-name
companies to Taiwan, 2003
Different forms of organizing transnational operations costs and benefits
Different national labour conditions: three ideal types
Mass consumption and after-Fordist consumption compared
Leading transnational retailers, ranked by sales outside home
market, 2005
Top ten retailers in Poland, 2004
Contrasting cultures? German and North American use of
German advanced machinery
Net value added, hourly effective return to labour and
contributions of males and females to household production
in the UK: 2000
Contrasting views on the emancipatory potential of industrial
employment for women
Top 10 occupations of full-time employed women in the US,
2004

102
109
112
133
134
158
176
202
214
238
248
261
288
293
295
340

353
358
364


LIST OF TABLES
Distribution of ethno-racial groups in various occupations,
Los Angeles, 2003
13.2 The two sides of ethnic enterprise
13.3 Top twenty remittance-receiving countries (as a percentage of
GDP, 2004)
13.1

xv
382
393
396


LIST OF BOXES

1.1 An economist explaining Niger's famine
1.2 Major theoretical perspectives in economic geography since
the 1960s
2.1 Metaphors of economy
2.2 What is discourse?
3.1 The fundamentals of capitalism
3.2 Regulation theory
3.3 Spatial divisions of labour
3.4 Bringing it all together in California
4.1 Coffee, cafes, and connections
4.2 Upgrading strategies in global commodity chains
4.3 Trading giants - the Japanese sago shosha
4.4 From chains to networks?
5.1 Offshore services in India
5.2 Fordism
5.3 Production process innovation: the case of Dell Computer
5.4 The creative class and spatial clustering
5.5 Global cities
5.6 Project working
6.1 Excerpts from an open letter to Vanessa Redgrave
6.2 Nature/society
6.3 Canada, Harold Innis and the geography of resource
economies
6.4 The Forest Stewardship Council's ten principles
6.5 Actor-network theory (ANT)
7.1 Neoliberalism: what's in a concept?
7.2 Strategies of industrialization: import-substitution versus
export-orientation

7
12
40
49
68
71
79
81
90
99
103
114
130
132
135
140
146
148
155
162
166
174
178
204
206


LIST OF BOXES
7.3 Structural adjustment programmes in South America, circa
the late 1980s
7.4 The rise of macro-regional economic blocs
8.1 Transnational production in the maquiladoras of Northern
Mexico
8.2 Transnational corporations and the new international
division of labour
8.3 TNC production networks and macro-regional integration
in North America and Southeast Asia
9.1 Different perspectives on labour and labour markets
9.2 Lean production
9.3 Local labour control regimes
9.4 Community unionism
9.5 The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC)
10.1 Consumption work
10.2 Central place theory
10.3 Viva Las Vegas!
10.4 Shopping
11.1 What is culture? A simplified approach
11.2 Competitiveness questioned
11.3 The rise of 'soft capitalism' since the late twentieth century
12.1 Patriarchy
12.2 Devaluing the 'third world woman'
12.3 Theories of labour market segmentation
12.4 What keeps childcare cheap?
12.5 Redundant masculinities
13.1 What is ethnicity?
13.2 Ontario's Korean convenience stores
13.3 Transnationalism
13.4 Ethnic Turks in Germany

xvii

209
212
234
240
242
258
264
266
276
279
290
291
308
313
324
326
328
354
359
361
365
368
381
389
395
398


PREFACE

The world around us is powerfully shaped by economic forces. The economy,
as we experience it in everyday life, is innately geographical. There is no economy
'out there', floating in the atmosphere, detached from the lived reality. Rather,
the economy is a set of grounded, real-world processes, a set of complex social
relations that vary enormously across, and because of, geographical space. Our
argument in this book is that the set of approaches offered by the field of
economic geography is best placed to help us appreciate and understand the
modern economic world in all its complexity. To ignore geographical variation
leads to a retreat into the unreal, hypothetical world of mainstream economics,
with all its many underlying assumptions and simplifications.
In the pages that follow, we adopt a particular approach in making our case
for an economic-geographical perspective. Before outlining this approach, we
should be clear about what this book is not! This note is especially important
for instructors and professors teaching economic geography courses. First, our
book is not a statistical and factual compendium on the current geographies
of the global economy. In other words, this is not an almanac for economic
geography courses; there are many such books already available in the market.
The Internet is now a much more effective medium to access contemporary
economic data, which has an exceptionally short shelf-life. Hence, we are not
primarily concerned with how much coal there is in Northeast England or
Shenyang, China, or how many textile factories are located in Bangladesh or the
Mexican maquiladoras. Moreover, we do not attempt to offer a systematic
survey of all parts of the global economy, either by sector or by region. Again,
this kind of economic geography text is already available.
Second, the book is not structured as an intellectual history of economic
geography, systematically charting a path from the sub-discipline's origins in the
commercial geographies of the late nineteenth century through to the very pluralist
economic geography that exists today. Nor does it offer a series of literature


PREFACE

xix

reviews of work at the research frontiers of contemporary economic geography.
Existing 'readers' and 'companions' offer exactly such an access to the economic
geography literature (Bryson et al., 1999; Barnes et al., 2003). Our view is that
many undergraduate students are initially nervous and/or ambivalent about this
intellectual history approach, and that we first need to engage them fully in the
substantive issues of economic life. By demonstrating the insights economic
geography can offer, students will then be equipped to later explore the intellec­
tual and methodological lineage of the field.
Third, the book deliberately blurs the distinction between economic geo­
graphy and what has conventionally been labelled 'development geography'. In
various ways, we have woven issues of development, poverty and inequality into
our discussion of an economic-geographical perspective, thereby rejecting the
notion that development geography is about the Global South and economic
geography is about the Global North. By integrating substantive issues and
empirical examples from across the globe, we adopt a more inclusive approach
to economic geography.
Given these parameters, what, then, is this book really about? In its essence,
this book takes the form of a series of linked chapters on topical issues and
contemporary debates that draw upon, and showcase, the best of economic
geography research. These issues are drawn from contemporary economic life,
which is increasingly constituted at a global scale - from uneven development,
space-shrinking technologies, and environmental degradation to powerful global
corporations, organized labour, and ethnic economies. We see each of these as
issues rather than just phenomena - that is, they are processes to be debated
rather than factual realities to be described. Each chapter thus seeks to answer a
significant contemporary question that a curious and well-informed undergradu­
ate reader might reasonably be expected to ask about the world around them.
This, then, is not a conventional text: our aim is to develop well-grounded
arguments from an economic geography perspective, not necessarily to present
simplifications of multiple viewpoints or collections of facts and data. We are,
however, trying to develop these arguments in straightforward and accessible
ways. The book is intended to be used in introductory courses in economic
geography in the first or second year of an undergraduate degree programme.
The chapters should be seen as bases for discussion rather than collections
of facts and truths needing to be reproduced in examination scripts. Nor are
they intended to substitute for classroom lectures to elaborate on some of the
theoretical themes or empirical case studies provided here. This is a book very
much intended to support an introductory course in economic geography and
to socialize students into the fascinating world of contemporary economic geo­
graphical research.
Notwithstanding the above comments, in this book we are seeking to
advance and advocate a certain kind of economic geography, although this
underlying position, for reasons alluded to above, is not always made explicit


XX

PREFACE

on a chapter-by-chapter basis. From the outset, however, it is important that
readers - and particularly instructors and professors - are at least aware of how
our favoured approach sits within the sub-discipline of economic geography
more broadly. In short, we seek to combine the best of both the political
economy perspective that entered economic geography from the 1970s onwards
and the new economic geographies that are generally seen to have risen to
prominence since 1990 (see Box 1.2). We are not championing and legitimizing
an either/or approach to the theoretical and empirical insights afforded by these
perspectives. Such an epistemological or paradigmatic debate is much better
covered in more advanced texts (e.g. Hudson, 2004). Instead, we intend this book
to be a celebration of multiple theoretical perspectives, including the new eco­
nomic geographies, in contemporary economic geography research.
The political economy perspective is now well known in economic geography,
but we should distinguish clearly how our conception of new economic geograph­
ies is different from the quantitative modelling version of so-called 'new economic
geography' in economics (e.g. Krugman, 2000; Fujita and Krugman, 2004). In
common with other economic geographers, we will refer to the latter as 'geo­
graphical economics'. 'New economic geography' is a very different proposition
and describes an approach to economic geography that has been influenced by
the recent 'cultural turn' in human geography (and the wider social sciences).
This has created a geographical approach to the economy that contextualizes
economic processes by situating them within different social, political and cultural
relations.
In doing so, new economic geography is not merely concerned with the eco­
nomic realm, but also with how such a realm is intertwined with other spheres
of social life. While there are publications that encapsulate the various dimen­
sions of this broad approach (e.g. Lee and Wills, 1997; Sheppard and Barnes,
2000), we believe this is the first textbook that seeks to demonstrate the benefits
of such a multi-faceted approach to an undergraduate audience. Moreover, our
aim in this book is to try and blend the nuanced insights of these new economic
geographies about everyday economic life with the analytical rigour that a political
economy approach brings to understanding the inherent logics and mechanisms
of the capitalist system, and the social and spatial inequities that it actively
(re)produces. We also take from the political economy perspective a critical and
normative stance that leads us to question and constantly interrogate those
inequities. We therefore make an explicit effort to demonstrate the value-added
of such a geographical approach in relation to conventional economic analyses
of these topics.
The book itself is structured around answering thirteen important questions
that arise in everyday economic life. We also preface these questions, listed as
each chapter heading, with an important analytical theme. Part I is entitled
'Conceptual Foundations' and explores in turn the 'geography' and 'economic'
of economic geography. Chapter 1 counterposes a geographical view on the


PREFACE

xxi

economy with that which might be adopted by a mainstream economist, and
introduces the key geographical vocabulary of space, place and scale. Chapter 2
unpacks the apparently common-sense notion of 'the economy' as something
'static' and 'out there' in conventional economics to reveal how we might think
about the economy in more creative and critical ways. In Part II, 'Dynamics
of Economic Space', we focus on four broad dynamics inherent to the capitalist
system: uneven geographical development (Chapter 3), commodity chains and
their role in organizing economic space (Chapter 4), technological change and its
ability to alter (albeit unevenly and partially) the geography of the economy
(Chapter 5), and the commodification of nature and the environment (Chapter 6).
Part Ill, 'Actors in Economic Space', looks at four main groups of actors who
play an active role in shaping economic geographies, namely the state, in all its
scalar forms (Chapter 7), transnational corporations (Chapter 8), labour/workers
(Chapter 9) and consumers (Chapter 10). In Part IV, entitled 'Socializing
Economic Life' - and here we draw in particular on the so-called 'new economic
geographies' - we bring in the dimensions of culture (Chapter 11), gender
(Chapter 12), and ethnicity (Chapter 13) to our understanding of the spatial
organization of economic activity, explicitly moving beyond conventional
economic analysis to incorporate consideration of how these 'non-economic'
variables shape economic processes.
A few further caveats should be noted at this point. First, in a text of this type
and length we cannot hope to cover every aspect of economic geography, either
within individual chapters, or across the book as a whole. We do, however, feel
that we have covered the most significant debates in which economic geo­
graphers have been active and offering valuable insights in recent decades. Second,
the book's structure and scope make it impossible to explore all the intersections
between the chapter topics: in producing a text of this kind, some simplification
is inevitable. Gender and ethnicity, for example, are bracketed out into separate
chapters but in reality could be part of many others, and, indeed, heavily inter­
sect themselves. Our strategy has been to break up economic geography into
manageable and relatively coherent segments for an undergraduate audience
and to use the introductory chapters in Part I to offer a more integrative analysis
and to clearly differentiate our field from mainstream economics. Extensive
cross-referencing of chapters also helps to make explicit connections between
different themes, examples, arguments and case studies in various chapters.
Each chapter in this book follows a similar structure. We open with what
we call the 'hook'; a (hopefully engaging) contemporary example or issue used
to introduce the key theme of the chapter. In the second section we tackle a
commonly held myth or misapprehension about the topic at hand (e.g. the
nation state is dead or transnational corporations are all powerful) and illustrate
how these myths often rest, in large part, on an 'ageographical' (i.e. non­
geographical) understanding of the world around us, particularly in mainstream
economics. The main body of each chapter then serves to illustrate the necessity


xxii

PREFACE

and effectiveness of taking an explicitly geographical approach to understanding
different aspects of the economy. Our aim is to make these arguments in a
clearly understandable, lightly referenced, jargon-free manner, drawing on a
wide range of examples from across different sectors of the economy, and from
around the world. Boxes within the text (between three to five per chapter, on
average) offer further development of key concepts, case studies and examples
for the reader, and the diagrams and photographs have been carefully chosen
to illustrate further the various points we are making. The penultimate section
of the chapter is designed to add a 'twist' to the arguments that have preceded
it; or in other words, to probe somewhat more deeply into the complexity
of contemporary economic geographies. Additional nuances and insights are
offered in these twists. Each chapter then concludes with a deliberately short
and pithy summary of the main themes covered.
What lies a&er the summary is also very important. First, for ease of use, the
reference list is included on a chapter-by-chapter basis. For the instructor, this is
also meant to facilitate use of the chapters in a more 'modular' manner that
does not have to deal with topics in the order we have presented them here.
Second, the further reading section guides the reader towards what we identify
as the most engaging and accessible literature on the chapter's topic. To be
clear, our objective here is not to bamboozle the reader with complicated and
advanced texts at the cutting edge of geographical research, but rather to select
readings that further explicate and develop our arguments in a digestible man­
ner for an undergraduate audience. Some of these readings identify the sources
of well-known case studies we have drawn from the geographical literature,
enabling students to 'flesh out' the inevitably brief summaries we have been able
to offer in the text. Third, we identify up to five online resources per chapter
that can also be used to supplement the chapters. Overall, our intention is to
offer an exploration of economic geography rich in examples and case studies
that can, on the one hand, open students' eyes to economic life and practices in
various parts of the world, and, at the same time, introduce concepts that can be
'put to work' in local contexts. Hence the text can be used alongside local
literature and case studies wherever the book is used.

References
Barnes, T.J., Peck, J., Sheppard, E. and Tickell, A. (eds) (2003) Reading Economic
Geography, Oxford: Blackwell.
Bryson, J., Henry, N., Keeble, D. and Martin, R. (eds) (1999) The Economic Geography
Reader: Producing and Consuming Global Capitalism, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons,
Ltd.
Fujita, M. and Krugman, P. (2004) The new economic geography: past, present and the
future, Papers in Regional Science, 83(1): 139-64.
Hudson, R. (2004) Economic Geographies, London: Sage.


PREFACE

xxiii

Krugman, P. (2000) Where in the world is the 'new economic geography'?, in G.L. Clark,
M.A. Feldman and M.S. Gertler (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography,
Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 49-60.
Lee, R. and Wills, J. (eds) (1997) Geographies of Economies, London: Arnold.
Sheppard, E. and Barnes, T. (eds) (2000) A Companion to Economic Geography,
Oxford: Blackwell.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

In an undertaking of this scale and scope, we have certainly benefited from
the generous help and assistance of various people and institutions and we
would like to acknowledge them here. Our editor at Blackwell, Justin Vaughan,
has been patient and supportive as this project has slowly and steadily moved
towards completion. We are very grateful for his ongoing encouragement and
confidence in our project, and for the excellent editorial assistance of Ben Thatcher
and Kelvin Matthews at Blackwell. We would also like to thank the many
anonymous reviewers who helpfully and constructively commented on the book
proposal in its various iterations. Trevor Barnes, in particular, deserves special
mention. He has been most generous and helpful on many different occasions,
and his detailed comments on the earlier version of the full manuscript were
extremely important in guiding our revisions. Peter Dicken has been our primary
inspiration in trying to become better economic geographers and in striving to
improve the accessibility and visibility of the sub-discipline. Gavin Bridge, Tim
Bunnell and Peter Dicken kindly conunented on individual chapters. Clive Agnew,
Gavin Bridge and Martin Hess gave us permission to reproduce their photos in
the book. Graham Bowden did a fantastic job of producing all the figures in the
book, sometimes at extremely short notice, and often from almost unintelligible
scribblings! None of these individuals, however, are responsible for any errors
or mistakes that remain.
In order to overcome the tyranny of geographical distance, we met three
times, in Singapore (December 2004), Manchester (July 2005), and Bellagio
(February 2006) to discuss face-to-face the book proposal, detailed structure,
chapter drafts, and so on. These intensive meetings were supplemented by many
other brief exchanges when the two or three of us got together during profes­
sional meetings or while on research trips. Various institutions provided financial
support for these meetings, either directly or indirectly. In particular, we would
like to thank the Rockefeller Foundation for its Team Residency Award that


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