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550 Swanston Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia The right of Neil M. Coe, Philip F. Kelly, and Henry W.C. Yeung to be identified as the Authors of this Work has been asserted in accordance with the UK Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by the UK Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988, without the prior permission of the publisher. First published 2007 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd 6
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
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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
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
Part IV Socializing Economic Life
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?
List of Figures List of Tables List of Boxes Preface Acknowledgements Part I
x1 xiv xvi xvm xxiv 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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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