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What is meant by the terms core and periphery?

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Core and Periphery Essay - Simon Standfast What is meant by the terms core and periphery? The term core refers to the economic centre of the country by which is meant areas that are more affluent and more dynamic i.e. growth rates are higher, there are greater rates of change and innovation. Also education standards are higher and a greater percentage in employment. More generally GDP per person is higher. There is more of a concentration of hi-tech and other lead sector industries. in Britain the core of the country is in London and South East England extending along the M4 corridor including towns such as Reading and Newbury (where the new Vodaphone headquarters have recently been built) The core is also often considered to extend to 'silicon fenn' around Cambridge. Some commentators would see the core extending along the axis of the M1/M6 to Birmingham. The periphery is characterised by lower household incomes, lower employment rates, low levels of inward investment reducing the population as the younger, more active people leave to work in cities that have more opportunities for them. Such areas in Britain have been recipients EU aid such as regional development grants often to assist in the establishment of new service industry sometimes replacing now obsolete primary industry such as coal mining, china clay extraction, or secondary industry such as iron and steal making. ...read more.


Regional prosperity will draw new industry to the area, creating new jobs which increase demand and therefore produces agglomeration and specialisation together with the attraction of more industries. As a result, these higher labour costs will be offset by higher productivity leading to a higher investment rate, higher output giving increasing returns on investment. These pull factors encourage rural in migration. Usually, levels of wealth, economic activity and development decrease with distance form the core so that places form the periphery become increasingly poorer. This development is centred around growth poles, generally with physical advantages such as raw materials. The positive effects of these growth poles mean that greater inequalities grew. Mydral's multiplier model can be used to explain a number of patterns such as the growth of the 19th century industrial regions e.g. South Wales and the Ruhr and also districts cutlery in Sheffield and clothing in Nottingham. The development of growth poles in developing counties such as Sao Paulo in Brazil and Damodar Valley in India where increased economic activity led, in turn, to multiplier effects and an upward spiral resulting in core regions. At the same time cumulative causation worked against regions of the periphery to produce backwash effects which included a lack of investment and job opportunities. The theory also explains the creation of modern government regional policies which encourage the sitting of new, large, key industries in either the peripheral less developed or high unemployment areas in the hope of stimulating economic growth. ...read more.


This area was referred to as the 'sunbelt' mainly due to the climatic characteristics. As this area developed economically, the original core began to loose much of its dominance especially as older industries declined. This is an example of how an area can prosper in the core regions without the expense of the periphery. As it happens, America has not experienced any negative effects from this process. An important note to emphasise throughout the development of core and peripheral areas, is that the periphery grows at a much slower rate than the core due to the decreased demand for skilled workers and there are fewer levels of economic activity. The likelihood is that without a core, overall national economic development would be much lower. In light of the issues discussed in this essay, we have seen that development of the core is not always at the expense of the periphery. Formally a peripheral area, the stretch of land from California to Florida is an example of how the development of new industries together with economic investment can lead to the creation of new growth poles and fundamentally, new core regions. Furthermore, without a core, the overall growth rate within a country would be much lower in comparison to the development of the periphery. We have seen that cores and peripheries can grow or decline overtime and peripheries can become cores so therefore being a periphery is not a terminal condition. 3 Simon Standfast ...read more.

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