Global Cities...

8th Sep 2017

Global cities and the geographical transfer of value

A new paper by Christof Parnreiter is now available online


The central argument of this article is that global cities are, due to their clustering of producer service firms, critical governance nodes in global production networks. More in particular, the article scrutinises the role of producer service firms in uneven development and, especially, in the geographical transfer of value (Hadjimichalis, 1984). Because the direct as well as the indirect mechanisms through which value is transferred geographically require the intervention of producer service firms, global cities can be theorised as governance nodes for centripetal wealth transfers along global commodity chains. Moreover, and in the context of the persisting criticism that the global city concept has a bias towards Northern/Western cities, the article argues that the claim that global cities are critical places for the organisation of uneven development also holds for cities beyond ‘the usual suspects’. Referring to cases of how producer service firms in Hamburg and Mexico City erect entry barriers to protect their clients from competition and of how they shape labour relations at the expense of employees, I have maintained that governance is, as Sassen (2010: 158) has argued, indeed ‘embedded’ into the services provided. From that follows that even ‘minor’ global cities are strategic governance places from where the transfer of wealth towards the centres of the world economy is organised.

You can access and read the full article here

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