There has been much said about globalization and its possible outcomes, including the positive ones, such as the opportunity to expand worldwide for literally any organization, and the negative ones, such as a steep rise in the prices for such crucial products as oil.
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Indeed, like many other events of a truly massive scale, globalization cannot be viewed as fully positive or, on the contrary, a completely negative process.
It certainly has its issues, which will, doubtlessly, trigger a negative aftermath; still, it is important to admit that globalization also has a significant economical, political and financial value, opening huge prospects for the development of all states of the world.
There is no doubt that the effects of such a massive process as globalization are going to sweet the entire world, therefore, having effect on the political, financial and economical state of every single state.
However, Sassen offers another way to view the aftermath of the globalization process; stressing that globalization is bound to shape the infrastructure and politics of the world’s major cities first, the author invites the audience to check the supposed outcomes of globalization, both positive and negative, as well as the ones that have already become evident.
While Sassen delivers his argument concerning the new centrality of the economic operations in a clear and very straight-forward fashion, by focusing on primarily large cities and disregarding the effect that the globalization process will have on the smaller ones, Sassen makes it clear that the globalization will not contribute to the integration of a whole state into the world economic process, thereby, denying the key principle of globalization, i.e., the overall involvement into the economic cycle.
It would be wrong, however, to claim that Sassen’s argument boils down to the idea that large cities are going to make the bulk of the economy in the globalized environment.
In addition to stressing the role of large cities like New York, Sassen also offers a deep introspective on the specifics of the globalization process within urban setting. Considering the example of such a city as New York, one can possibly evaluate the strengths and weakness of Sassen’s work.
As Sassen explains, to get prepared for the changes of such scale, the humankind will have to work on the strategies that will help overcome the shock that will inevitably follow the analysis of the changes brought upon the world by globalization.
According to Sassen, creating a transactional system of alliances can be viewed as an opportunity to make the effects of globalization less drastic.
Sassen claims that “We must develop a transactional system of alliances if we are to deal with a political economy that, while it is rooted in national regimes, increasingly escapes national regulation” (Sassen, 1998, XIV).
In the given statement, Sassin stresses the contradictory nature of the globalization process, thereby, questioning the viability of globalization as a process that is going to take place on an international scale.
When considering an example of a large city like New York and comparing it to a city of a considerably smaller influence, like Hoboken, one must agree that, compared to new York, Hoboken will be regarded as the city of minor importance after the globalization process is over.
The given event, however, is likely to lead to the decay of farming, fishing and forestry industries, which Hoboken is responsible for (Greenland & Sheldon, 2007).
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It is also rather impressive that, along with stressing the international and even intercultural nature of globalization, Sassin makes it clear that in the end of the process, globalizing forms of elite culture are highly likely to appear, therefore, re-stating the hegemony of a specific nation and, thus, its culture (Sassin, 1998).
Therefore, Sassin emphasizes that even at the end of globalization, equality among states will not be achieved; instead, each of the states will be given equal opportunities for changing its economical, financial and political strategy.
Although the given argument seems rather reasonable, it still leaves many questions unanswered, such as whether the significance of agriculture is going to drop in the realm of globalization, since the minor states, which are typically responsible for the agriculture development, will lose their significance; and, if it does, what alternatives can be provided.
Again, considering the example of New York and Hoboken, one must agree that the former has much more potential, yet the latter has more natural resources; therefore, abandoning the development of smaller cities will leave such major ones as New York without primary supplies for producing goods and services that people need for everyday life. Without a proper emphasis on smaller cities, New York will gradually die after being consumed by its own dwellers.
Another issue that Sassen raises in her work, the concept of urban economy has also been brought up as the possible stumbling block for the further progress of the economy.
As Sassen stresses, at present, a huge boost of private entrepreneurships can be observed, with rather predictable outcomes, i.e., a large variety of “firms, types of workers, types of work cultures, types of residential milieux” (Sassen, 1989, XXIV) appears; which is even more important, the newly appearing concepts, types of businesses, new employee classifications, etc. is never registered on the global radars.
Therefore, Sassen’s key concern must be that the process of globalization is likely to get out of hand soon, which will, in its turn, lead to confusions and misunderstandings in the economical sphere, as well as the possible crash of the global market.
As Sassen explains, while the recently coined concepts “may be essential to operation of the urban economy and the daily needs of residents, their survival is threatened in a situation where finance and specialized services can earn superprofits” (Sassen, 1989, XXIV).
However, it can be considered that new businesses are much more viable and competitive than Sassen gives them credit for.
It is important to realize that in the global environment, competitiveness will become the most important asset of an entrepreneurship. Therefore, getting companies ready for new competitive environment is crucial.
That being said, stating that Sassen completely misses the point of globalization would be rather far-fetched; however, the author has clearly overlooked several details concerning the specifics of the globalization process, which might head the globalization process towards smaller cities and towns development.
While globalization does presuppose that the major cities should serve as the links between the states of the world, it still involves a robust development of the smaller cities, since a number of important elements of state economics, like agriculture, often depend on such small elements.
Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the paper provides a detailed overview of the changes that may happen to the world several decades later, especially in the sphere of the servicing network development.
Providing a thorough account of the possibilities that globalization will open for the humankind in the future, Sassen offers a very solid statement worth taking into account.
Greenland, P. R. & Sheldon, A. L. (2007). Conservation and environment. New York, NY: InfoBase Publishing.
Sassen, S. (1998). Globalization and its discontents. New York, NY: The New Press.