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To what extent are cities of the developing world governed by the neo-liberal conventions of the developed world.

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Introduction

If we are to look at the extent to which developing world cities are governed by the conventions of the developed world we need to be aware of how these conventions are enforced and fostered upon them, what tools do the developed world have for empowering its own processes and what are the motivations that drive developed nations towards the global ways. But what are the short and long term effects of adopting neo-liberal global conventions and what effect will these polices have upon the cities and surrounding areas. What will happen to the established rhythms, and will the processes have any benefit for the developing cities. What alternatives exist outside of the globalised western based ideal. But before these points are answered we need to look at what are the main theories covering the way that power is exerted by global cities ensuring that neo-liberal conventions and practices spread to new areas. The two main opponents of the way in which global cities perpetuate their neo liberal practices and spread their power are Saskia Sassen and Manuel Castells. Sassen (1991) sees the web of connections passing through one global city to the next. The Global city controls the flows of space around its vicinity, passing out connections to local sites which then flow back to the centre of the global city and back into the global networks. ...read more.

Middle

In addition to the above two transnational non-government organisation the activities of credit reference agencies have also come to exert pressure and power of the policies of developing countries. Credit rating agencies have the power to set the credit worthiness of a county/city/region and this worthiness sets the interest rates that loans and other lendings are based ie, the cost of borrowing. Like the World Bank and the IMF the credit reference agencies are based in major global cities, with all but one of the major agencies based in the USA. They can be seen as a tool of the neo liberal global economies. Through the activities centred in the global cities money/financial assistance is leant, granted and written off if the developed countries follow western processes and entertain the flows of information that bring with it western practices and ideals. But is the one development aid suits all the right way, is there room for all countries to develop along the same path, what happens along the way? Developed countries have found themselves in debt, a debt that is owed to rich developed countries, they found themselves unable to service their obligations and have been forced into neo-liberal policies in order to get financial aid, in whatever form. But other countries were not forced into indebtedness, Columbia, for instance did not find itself in uncontrollable debt but it's capital, Bogot´┐Ż, has followed free market principles and attempted to become a local powerhouse in South America. ...read more.

Conclusion

That once tied to the policies of the west the developed countries have to meet conditions in order to receive aid, be it grants, loans or debt write-off. Countries that stray from these policies are threatened with sanctions or increased costs of borrowing and that these form a metaphorical rail road along which the developing country has no choice but to follow, no matter what impact the neo liberal policies have on their established economies. Yet other webs of connections do exist and other developing nations have chosen their own trajectories, such as Kuala Lumpur, but Malaysia is not constrained by the levels of debt found in South America and Africa. Being less reliant on the Organisations of the west they have more freedom to choose and whilst some like Singapore have chosen the western way other chose not to. As Castells and Sassen both state, power is not physically fixed in one place. Connections ebb and flow in the world rankings it is only by staying within at the top of the powerful connections that Global cities can exert their control. What if Malaysia has got it right and Singapore has it wrong in the future Muslim connections could be the dominant connections who knows which is the right path of development or web of connections, the professionals in the current global cities think they have it right but there have been many empires in the past that have come and gone with the passage of time. ...read more.

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