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King (1990, page x) argues that

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Introduction

King (1990, page x) argues that "the dissolution of empire has been critical to the growth of world cities". How far does this apply to London? Modern patterns of development and growth have been shaped and influenced by the historical context of colonialism. Within this context relationships between capitalist and pre-capitalist states or colonies helped forge a world economy, which would later lead to processes of globalisation and the current economic world order. Expansion in the world economy has been exacerbated by the freer flow of labour, goods, services and capital, which are features of the post-war, post-colonial world. King contends that these factors have been "critical to the growth of world cities." (King, 1990: x) Urbanisation in many post-colonial states has been rapid, supported by trade with a greater number of nations compared with that of the colonial period. Indeed, many colonial nations have now followed their own paths of industrialisation, instead of relying primarily on their export of natural resources such as timber; their economies are becoming more diverse and are now linked within a global network of trade and commerce that is enabling them to develop significantly. Existing at the heart of these states are primary cities, the administrative and economic centres for their new global roles. ...read more.

Middle

With the demise of the colonial power, it lacked the economic base to meet the social costs it generated. [This resulted in] problems of housing, a shortage of economic resources...and a lack of the institutional infrastructure to deal with social, administrative and political needs." (King, 1990:45) Disappearance of hegemonic power systems took place, and the nation-state grew in significance as a unit of analysis. Within these nation states the seats of power were able to control their own destinies and determine growth within their own political boundaries; this growth was facilitated by the freer flow of goods and capital through the nation state's principal cities. The dissolution of empire and the effects of the Second World War led to a dramatic shift in the nature of London's economy which ultimately affected its growth. The collapse of the manufacturing industries is a case in point, and from the mid-1950s people began to suffer job losses in this area. "Between 1971 and 1975 19 per cent of manufacturing jobs disappeared...between 1978 and 1981 some 98,700 jobs in manufacturing and production were lost." (Coupland, 1992:26-27) Commerce also declined in central London and as unemployment rose a deprived inner city began to emerge. London's problems were exacerbated not only by the housing problems caused by wartime damage, but by the closure of the docks, which had survived the war but could not survive the break-up of empire. ...read more.

Conclusion

distinguishes London is the degree of its former imperial dominance, and the extent to which internationalization has brought foreign ownership, and hence dependence." (Sheppard, 1998:359) Modern London now has to compete with other primary cities which have not had to undergo such a dramatic transition in their character and global position. Significant redevelopment has taken place in recent years and London continues to exemplify the 'world city'. Its prominent role in Europe, its historical importance, imposing architecture, economic wealth and position as seat of power all contribute to make London one of the major cities of the world. The importance of dissolution of empire to many world cities is demonstrated by the increased flow of capital, labour, goods and services which have enabled them to grow. Imperial London already contained these processes which were fundamentally linked with its dominant global role, it is therefore, increasingly dependent and vulnerable within the new world economic order. However, the disintegration of its imperial role has not been completely negative to London's growth, the City has just had to find time and method to help adapt and reposition itself within a new global system. Within this system London has now found a specific function as a global centre for banking and financial trading, which increasingly determine its international role and its patterns of modern growth. 2,096 words. ...read more.

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