Social Economy of the Metropolis: Cognitive-Cultural Capitalism and the Global Resurgence of Cities
Allen J. Scott
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This book is about the renaissance of cities in the twenty first century and their increasing role as centers of creative economic activity. It attempts to put some conceptual and descriptive order around issues of urbanization in the contemporary world, emphasizing the idea of the social economy of the metropolis, which is to say, a view of the urban organism as an intertwined system of social and economic life played out through the arena of urban space.
The book opens with a review of some essentials of urban theory, the book aims to re-articulate the urban question in a way that is relevant to city life and politics in the present era. It then analyses the functional characteristics of the urban economy, with special reference to the rise of a group of core sectors such as media, fashion, music, etc., focused on cognitive and cultural forms of work. These sectors are growing with great rapidity in the world's largest cities at the present time, and they play a major role in the urban resurgence that has been occurring of late. The discussion then explores the spatial ramifications of this new economy in cities and the ways in which it appears to be ushering in major shifts in divisions of labor and urban social stratification, as marked by a growing divide between a stratum of elite workers on the one side and a low-wage proletariat on the other.
Allen Scott is one of the world's foremost thinkers on the economies of modern cities, and in this book presents a concise introduction to his innovative and insightful perspective.
variations in space and time (though my references to space and time will be conﬁned in the present context to the geography and history of capitalism)? With this standard of performance in mind, I suggest that we initiate the argument with a provisional three-tiered concept of the urban as (a) a dense assemblage of social and economic phenomena (of which units of capital and labor are of primary importance) organized around a common spatial center and associated subcenters of gravity, (b) tied
time. In these circumstances, urban growth and development are inevitably susceptible to severe curtailment in the absence of adjunct frameworks of policymaking and planning. At this stage, it is well to recall one of the essential messages conveyed earlier in the discussion, namely, that these frameworks never operate on a purely technocratic basis (even though they almost always have strong technocratic elements), for policymakers and planners are continually subject to a tug-of-war between
represent a wide array of industrial types, ranging from manufacturing to ﬁnance and insurance, and from wholesale trade to arts, entertainment, and recreation. Two main points now 3 Note that these size categories are meant to represent generic types of metropolitan area, and cannot be taken to stand in for any one case. Nevertheless, it is useful to inquire as to what degree they characterize individual cases and/or to what degree they may be biased. In this regard, two simple diagnostic tests
The evident deduction here is that major occupational groups are too broadly deﬁned to pick up signiﬁcant variations at this geographic scale. I should add that neither unemployment rates nor sex ratios in the labor force show much variation across different size categories of metropolitan areas, though sex ratios do, of course, vary greatly by sector and occupation. Manufacturing Activities in the Contemporary Metropolis We now turn our attention to a very much more detailed empirical
and so on. These are occupations that require signiﬁcant levels of human capital, and they are generally well paid, though certainly not invariably so (McRobbie 2004). They are, in any event, essential drivers of efﬁcacy and competitive proﬁciency in the modern economy. First, managerial and allied workers carry out the functions of administration, monitoring, and control of the production system as a whole. Second, skilled analysts and other professionals are needed to maintain the specialized