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Cities Without Borders 163

An anonymous reader writes "There is a very interesting article about Cities Without Borders in the latest issue of Mindjack. The author, Paul Hartzog, argues that we are seeing the emergency of 'global cities' concentrating command-and-control functions for the global economy. For instance, the increasing importance of certain cities such as New York, London, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Sydney or Miami shows they not only support complex webs of businesses but also participate in a global network for the production and distribution of finance and capital. This is just one example. You should read the original article to see if you agree with the author -- or not."
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Cities Without Borders

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  • Pfff... please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:14AM (#10745489)
    If location doesn't matter. Then why is everyone getting ripped off from real estate cost.

    • Re:Pfff... please (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So you agree with the article that location matters. You say it in such a way as to imply that you're disagreeing with someone or something abd you don't comment at all on global cities. And this gets a +5 insightful?
    • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:32AM (#10745624) Journal

      Location matters depending on one thing - the quality of local government.

      Take North Korea for instance - it isn't that different from South Korea, and yet the people in North Korea are dying of hunger.

      The only difference between the North and South Korea(s) isn't location, but rather, the governments that run the two places.

      Even within a country, you can find that people of different classes congregate into different areas, and that is largely the effect of governments.

      People paying hefty premiums for the real estate in High Class Area for many reasons - of course, the "High Class" does sound nice. But other than that, better schools, better security, better connections, et cetera do add up.

      In slums area, like in shanty towns, people often don't even have to pay for the real estate they occupy, but they DO pay for the effects of CRIME, little or no chance of schooling, rampant joblessness, and so on.

      All those can be and would be addressed effectively if you have a good government.

      The Philippines as well as Myanmar were RICH COUNTRIES in Asia. Today, the people of both countries are suffering because of the failure of their respective governments.

      On the other hand - we can see the rise of China - whether you agree or not, the present government of China is "better" in some ways, as compare to the past - and that allows the people of China to have a chance to move foward, and many do.

      By the same token, the government of United States of America is failing, and we can see the effects - dropping standards of living, growing deficits, the exodus of jobs, the rising crime rates, and so on.

      City Without Borders is just an idea. Cities such as New York City won't be in the list of City Without Borders for long, if New York City continues to be ruled by bad governments.

      Other newcomers from South America or Asia or Europe may take its place, simply because talents will flock to places with good governence. And with the concentration of all those talents, miracles happen.

      That's all.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        By the same token, the government of United States of America is failing, and we can see the effects - dropping standards of living, growing deficits, the exodus of jobs, the rising crime rates, and so on.

        I don't mean to be a stickler about the crime thingy, but crime rates have been steadily dropping [] for the past decade or so.
      • Not by any means universally true. Vancouver has the about the most expensive real estate in Canada and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who ascribes it to the quality of local government. A beautiful location, year-round temperate weather, even a similarity to Hong Kong's geography attracting Pacific Rim money are bigger factors which, in my opinion, offset what has to be the most slack, lazy and irresponsible (in the sense of procatively taking responsibility for anything) municipal government it's be
      • People paying hefty premiums for the real estate in High Class Area for many reasons - of course, the "High Class" does sound nice. But other than that, better schools, better security, better connections, et cetera do add up.

        I don't know about you, but it seems to me that the FED and the IRS both have strong policies in place that encourage people to go into way more debt than they should and that is a big factor reguarding alot of high priced housing in the states.

        Also, here in california, city gover

  • by Meredeth ( 821492 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:21AM (#10745499)
    Im reminded of school history lessons as a kid, full of stories of once great cities, now deserted because the rivers or trade routes that suported them changed. This is the same sort of thing, those cities are important because of the information that flows through them. How easy these days is it for information to change where its located? In the past a river would take hundreds of years to change its course. Nowdays, that cultural river can change a great deal in mere decades. How long ago was it that Miami was just a holiday spot?
    • How long ago was it that any place used to serve as just a getaway? Every aspect of life now happens everywhere.
    • by Spruitje ( 15331 ) <> on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:30AM (#10745520) Homepage
      Well, if you look at the location of large internet exchanges you'll find that most are build in or near large cities.
      And sometimes something goes wrong and then a large part of the internet in that country goes down.
      We had this kind of problem a couple of times due to power outages in Amsterdam.
      The result is that a large part of the Netherlands was without internet.
      • There's a large part of the Netherlands?

        fooled me, and I even strayed off the beaten path...

        Just having fun with you, it's a great country. I stepped of the train and hated my mental state immediatly. Immediatly I had Zoolander stuck in my head (stayed for 2 days) going: "everyone is rediculously good looking." Great trip though... thank's to the US gov't for paying for it.
    • I think that in many ways, Slashdot is a city. It certainly has enough viewers to otherwise be a small city in real life. There are a diversity of opinions and mindsets, and there's a system of government (moderation and administration), there's business that goes on, everyone has a place where they live ( people have jobs (submitting articles, commenting on articles, moderating comments, paying subscriptions, voting in polls), some are volunteer, some you have to earn the pri
    • I don't think comparing river based economies and information based economies makes much sense. Other that a loose corrolation based on the concept of "flow," the two are drasticly different.

      Ancient trading economies would dry up when the trade routes changed, true. However, that's a physical reality and/or a cultural one (dealing with alternative trade routes, not with a river changing course over centuries). When it comes to a global information based economy, the rules are a bit different. You can e
      • Yes, of course I agree that they are not the same thing. But the idea should hold true. The idea that trade of any sort, regardless of the medium or the articles being traded, in this case the information culture, are the life blood of a city. What did the major trading cities do to become the hubs that they are? It used to be purely geographical. You built a city where people could get to it, close to everything you needed for that, that may not be true. neither Sydney or Miami were close to anyth
    • How long ago was it that Miami was just a holiday spot?

      Yeah, now it is also a waypoint in the drug trade too. I think that's about it though.
  • I think the points made the artcile are quite intuitive and obvious. Rather, it is the context of formulation of the subject at hand that makes the way we think about cities as entities interesting. Any geographical entity, be it a city, state, or nation state, are essentially borderless. The spatial ontology of such geographical entities is predicated on the artificially constructed boundaries that are set in order to structurally delimit the start of an entity and the end of another. Such borders, however
    • by Anonymous Coward
      context of formulation of the subject at hand [...] The spatial ontology [...] predicated on the artificially constructed boundaries [...] transcend geographical borders
      You're a liberal arts major, aren't you?
    • When the internet and the world wide web emerged, such boundaries were rendered virtually meaningless.

      ...yet these borders were arbitrary to begin with; the frustrating part of the linked article is its author limited his scope to human history on the scale of a few centuries. The assignment of boundaries to territories by humans (and every other species) based upon social organization is nothing new, but it is a pretense that these boundaries are anything but highly dynamic and completely dependant on

      • First off it seems that you want to trash everyone's regional values and desires in order to assume a super humanity state. Why do that? If the whole point of freedom is to be able to support diversity, then, why use that freedome to have a single culture smashing state.

        In a sense, the current war on terrorism is a war of the "global culture" against insular local cultures. It's not talked about much, but I bet the prospect of McDonalds in Mecca rouses more anger in the mideast than does anything else.
        • Not only is your rambling incoherent, but you don't even attribute your response to what I said.

          • I identified what I consider to be a temporary state in humanity: that where the nation-state (i.e. "Germany", "India", "Russia") existed; an delimitation of society that developed as we reached a critical point in communications & economy where city-to-city trade was insufficient, yet global trade was not yet viable a complete model.
          • I then referred to the collapse of this nation-state organization becaus
  • by Omkar ( 618823 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:26AM (#10745514) Homepage Journal
    As our economy depends more and more on services, people will tend to clump together to reduce travel costs and maximize convenience. The digital outsourcing trends that we see now don't fight this: they just link the clumps (ex: Bangalore to NYC). It's easier now to get services away from the city network, but still easier to get them within the network.
  • Civ (Score:4, Funny)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:27AM (#10745515) Journal
    I first thought of Civilization (Sid Meier's) where you have to acquire city walls to protect your fellow citizens from invaders...
    Once you get a proper air defense system, these become obsolete.
    But no, it just looks to be more about the demise of ruralship and the slow disappearing of intermediate management : info no gets directly from the ground up and vice versa.
  • by digitaltraveller ( 167469 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:35AM (#10745535) Homepage
    Actually the trend is going in reverse. Telecommuting / telepresence means you don't need to be in the city.

    Being in the city used to be useful for acquiring the extremely valuable commodity of trust. Personal relationships. Now, I can trust Larry Lessig (at least on Copyright law critique) because I know where he stands on those issues. We are on opposite sides of the planet. I also trust Warren Buffet as a source of information on investment issues. He's in Nebraska.

    Warren B. might not take my calls but Larry probably would. And they're are plenty of 'mini' Warrens around.

    I have no reason to visit Frankfurt or any of those other places.
    • Slashdot has mentioned SATS [].

      It will allow you to physically commute 400 miles each way daily for working.
      • But why would you want to? Telecommuting would seem to be a much more sensible solution all round, than travelling 800 miles every day to and from work.
      • ...I can tell you there is nothing better. For the past 5 years, I get up in the morning, get a cup of coffee, scratch my butt, sit down at my computer, and I am "at work." Our primary office site is 300+ miles away in Houston.

        Logistical issues are infrequent and minor, usually comfortably and efficiently addressed by FedEx or UPS.

        Telecommuting is not the wave of the future, it is the reality of now--at least for me.
        • all that this means is that talking no longer requires us to be geographically next to each other. Great, the phone did that 100 years ago.
          The UPS and FedEx example is interesting. It is almost as if a new class is being developed. The Business people of the world cannot be bothered to travel anymore, so they pay somebody to do it for them. You are still governed by geography though, you have simply outsourced the requirement.
    • If you read the article, you would know that it was in complete disagreement as well. The article is claiming that this idea of global cities being the centralization of a command-and-control structure is failing to notice the the command-and-control structure is being inherently undermined, delegitematizing the entire idea.

      The article points to blogs, Slashdot, Kuro5hin, copyleft, Creative Commons, Wikipedia, and several other items as examples of how bottom-up creation is replacing top-down.

      The article
  • a binary world (Score:5, Insightful)

    by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:54AM (#10745564) Homepage
    This reminds me of something I've noticed with myself over the last few years, as the internet has become so much more a part of everything. My friends have also noticed this.

    I find that as I interact with people from all over the world, on forums, and newsgroups, and in online games (my EQ guild had Canadians, and Australians, and French, and a few others, for example), the notion of countries, like "The United States", just doesn't seem that relevant any more.

    I'm starting to feel that basically the world consists of here (basically, where the people I interact with outside the net are) and everywhere else. When I deal with someone who is not here, it doesn't matter to me if they are in Texas or New York or France. That the first two of those are in the same country as I and the third is not seems a silly distinction to make.

    • by Chatmag ( 646500 )
      We've seen basically the same thing you mention. Our site is becoming more and more popular the past few years, with people looking for discussions online.

      Would you mind contacting me directly? I'd like to do a feature piece on the future of online discussions and include your remarks. I'd need your permission to do so. My email is available through here.

      Thanks, Pete
    • Re:a binary world (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tmalone ( 534172 )
      Did nobody on slashdot take part in the US presidential election? Geography matters more than you think. The people we interact with in person have a much greater affect on us than those we chat with. For example, my wife's parents used to be flaming liberals. All the friends they talk to on the phone are similarly inclined. Then they moved to rural Idaho to retire. The people they interact with on a daily basis are biggots. Last time we saw them they were going on about how the gays are degrading th
    • "I'm starting to feel that basically the world consists of here (basically, where the people I interact with outside the net are) and everywhere else. "

      You sure its not just because you're from America?

      I KEED I KEED. I'm from the US myself.

      But I totally know what you're saying. And personally, I think that once there's a critical mass of people (and more importantly people with influence) who feel the same way, we will see the governmental shift into a global economy. However, the world is still extreme

  • Like many other things in life, if it's worth trying and even if it's not, we've tried it in California. We already have a city without borders, we call it Los Angeles.

    Joking aside, even as an idea or culture, one could argue that Los Angeles is world wide.
    • Re:no borders? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Trurl's Machine ( 651488 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @07:52AM (#10745900) Journal
      Like many other things in life, if it's worth trying and even if it's not, we've tried it in California. We already have a city without borders, we call it Los Angeles. Joking aside, even as an idea or culture, one could argue that Los Angeles is world wide.

      You probably have no idea how much you're right on that one. If you live in a country as different from California as possible - Eastern Europe, for example - you are still somehow aware of various LA-specific cultural phenomena. For example, if you are a frustrated teenager with no clear weather forecast for the labor market, you express your frustration in terms of "South Central ghetto", even if you are actually white in a 100% white nation. It was perfectly parodied in the hilarious Ali G [] show. But it goes further, even if you are NOT a hip-hop music fan. Popular Dreamworks 3D cartoons like "Shark Tale" or even "Shrek 2", expect from the viewer to understand at least the basics of LA reality. Actually, many Hollywood filmmakers are just too lazy to ever move out of the city, so some popular LA (or rather "within 2 hours driving from Beverly Hills") vistas and locations are ubiquitous in Hollywood movies. Which, in turn, are ubiquitous in cinemas in such remote places as Kosice, Slovakia or Tigru Mures, Transilvania. Kids and teenagers learn how to live in a multi-racial sprawl-infested megalopolis even before they start to learn how to live in their own community. I find it scary, sometimes.
  • Nonsense. This is an age-old concept. Rome and Alexandria were both large hubs of commerce, setting the value of the $currency, and trade went on between the cities. London and Paris in centuries past traded. This is the same damned thing that's been going on for millenia: people congregate into larger groups of habitating individuals, and they become a "city". Having a larger wealth of human resources, they naturally become a focal point in all trade. People in outlying communities around these cities use
  • by davejenkins ( 99111 ) <slashdot@davejenki[ ]com ['ns.' in gap]> on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:25AM (#10745615) Homepage
    As economies move more and more toward services and not manufacturing, the countryside-- with scattered factory towns, resource locations (coal, iron), and certainly agrarian regions atrophe their youth to the capital metropolis.

    I have seen this firsthand in London, where real estate prices continue to climb, while the Northern England and certainly Scotland prices are stable or slightly falling.

    I saw this happen in Seoul, where there is currently a property bubble on the south side of the Han river, while villages south toward Pusan are growing more empty every year.

    I am currently watching this happen in Tokyo, where every new building is full of "one room" apts catering to newcomers draining out of the countryside, and the towns on the far side of the island are nothing but grandmas and grandpas growing rice.

    My point: Tokyo, London, Seoul, Paris, New York, and perhaps Sydney will continue to see strong local economies, while their surrounding areas stagnate. Meanwhile, manufacturing-based economies like China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Germany, Brasil, and perhaps Vietnam will see distributed development as factories seek cheap land and cheap raw materials.
    • I have seen this firsthand in London, where real estate prices continue to climb, while the Northern England and certainly Scotland prices are stable or slightly falling.

      This was the case until recently, but as the UK property boom started in London the south-east, so has the slow-down. While prices continue to rise in areas where the bubble was late in arriving, the areas where the bubble is already inflated have started to slow or deflate [].

    • The exact opposite is true in the US. The death of many US cities occured between the 50s and the 80s. Look at Philadelphia, a city that lost 500,000 people between the late 1950s and today. Where did they go? New York? Baltimore? yes, some did, but most went to the suburbs. This is happening all over the US. Just as our cars and waist lines are expanding, so are our cities.
  • by UnderScan ( 470605 ) <jjp6893.netscape@net> on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:25AM (#10745616)
    Saskia Sassen, professor of Sociology & author of "The Global City" is used as an authority in TFA. This post is not a slam but more of a critique of her as a lecturer.
    As a graduate of RIT [], it was mandatory to take [] Senior Seminar [] which is RIT's attempt to enrich the student with timely lectures from authorities in a field. The topic of Senior Seminar is on globalization, human rights, and citizenship. []

    You can find all the lectures online at [] (might I add that there are some really great lectures available) and you can specifically you can find Professor Saskia Sassen's lecture from December 13, 2001 Globalization or Denationalization? Economy of Policy in a Digital Global Age. ( .RAM file - Real Player required) [] Yes I attended this as it was mandatory but I was there with an open mind. We were required to attend and then discuss it at the next class meeting with our fellow students and our Senior Sem. professor.

    The class, including the professor, agreeded that she is too far out into the fringes of her studies of sociology and thus is unable to effectivly communicate her thoughts to those in attendance. Our professor, he too a professor in the field of sociology, was both disgusted and outraged in regards to her lecture. Disgusted that she can not reach students and perhaps make them question why & how globalization changes our lives. Outraged that we had to listen to over an hour of uninterpretable socio-politic-economic mishmash of ideas. I came away from that lecture with nothing. I will wholly admit that I am not a peer of hers nor am I well versed in any social science. Perhaps I am way out of my element and all of us students in attendance are not the pinnacle of sociology & research like she is, but I was dumbfounded that I could walk away from a lecture and gain nothing.

    Maybe she is a great authority on the topic of globalization, but her delivery on that topic left us feeling ill. Since we suffered through her lecture, I wonder if she really is an authority on globalization since many educated students and some of her peers were unable to discover it for themselves. If Sassen's lecture is measured against Marshall McLuhan's quote "The Medium is the Message", then Sassen's message becomes bunk.

    For a critique of her book, see customer reviews. []
  • Slashdot editors asking us to RTFA?

    That must be a first

  • We might find individuals thinking of themselves as New Yorkers first and Americans second

    I think a lot of people have been feeling that way since November 2nd. []

  • ..."Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?". "well I dont know about anyone else . But I came from my room. I'm a kid with big plans and I'm going outside! See ya later!" "Say, who the heck is Paul Gaugin Anyway" Sorry, couldnt help myself - Calvin and Hobbes (still missed)
  • "You should read the original article to see if you agree with the author -- or not."

    You do realize this is slashdot, don't you?

    And btw, aren't anonymous readers actually anonymous cowards around here?
  • by Tsar ( 536185 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:38AM (#10745634) Homepage Journal
    • Digital culture is potentially global culture. We find theatre productions from London, like "Les Miserables", becoming mega-hits on Broadway in New York City.
      Italian operas have been performed all over the world for centuries. What is different? Nothing.
    • The city scenes in the first Matrix film were shot in Sydney, the second in San Francisco, and yet on-screen they constituted an architecturally homogenous unidentifiable "global city."
      Modern skyscrapers are designed more for efficiency than uniqueness, and with few exceptions are not terribly distinctive. Just because my city can be photoshopped to look like another one does not make me more a "citizen of the world."
    • The increasing globalization of production creates a "global culture" that is cosmopolitan and robust in its diversity.
      What an asinine statement. My grandfather could walk into a store 50 years ago and buy a Japanese radio as easily as an American-made one. Did it make him more culturally aware?
    • Balancing this trend, however, we find a resurgence in international arts. Films like "Amelie" succeed because they inflect the emerging global culture with a local or regional cultural flavor.
      Films like "Amelie" succeed because they are well-made and entertaining despite the subtitles, not because of them.
    • In addition, Chow Yun-Fat is not only a successful Chinese actor, but more importantly a successful global actor.
      Mark Twain was an international star as well. So was Benjamin Franklin. Chow Yun-Fat is not a different species, just a different breed.
    Each generation thinks that their time is the most important moment in history. It is the hubris of our species, and it leads us unfailingly to make bad decisions about the future, thinking we know more than our predecessors and as much as our successors. This is why each generation laughs at its ancestors and is laughed at by its descendants.

    Come on, people; we have thousands of years of history to draw upon here. Can't we muster some perspective? Read Ecclesiastes--there is nothing new under the sun.
    • "Films like "Amelie" succeed because they are well-made and entertaining despite the subtitles, not because of them."

      Excuse me, but this seems to me like a statement of ignorance.

      Why is it that subtitles are somehow associated with being poor quality? Is this implying that only the USA produces good films?

      The european (and asian) film production is incredibly rich and not just incomprihensible art-films, but often very entertaining.

      Sadly (for the US) it seems they very rarely make it in the US, because
  • Since this was well known in Shakespear's time...

    It probably isn't news.

  • by mumblestheclown ( 569987 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:59AM (#10745676)
    There are a dozen cities in Asia (yes I know Australia is not Asia) globablly more important than Sydney ("the gateway to Woomera"). Sydney is a great place to (begin a) holiday, but except for the fact that it has a somewhat unique location, it is unexceptional from a business standpoint. You might raise the same objection about Miami, but given how much south / central american money passes through there, I can see a reasonable case being made for Miami. Sydney is not defensible as a top global business city unless you use the criterion "best of each continent", in which case they forgot McMurdo station off that list.
  • You should read the original article to see ...

    Oh no, it won't work here.
  • by lxs ( 131946 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @06:21AM (#10745722)
    This article reminds me of the kinds of articles that were written in the early '90s about the fall of nation states and the emergence of a cosmopolitan information economy due to that newfangled internet thingy. Well I'm glad the days of millenarian doom and gloom are over and that we will go back to '90s optimism. (yes the world is a mess, but it was bad back then too. Remember it gets worse before it gets better) Now all I want is my VR helmet.
  • by Underholdning ( 758194 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @06:22AM (#10745723) Homepage Journal
    Sounds a lot like the theory of The Global Village [] from 1962
  • Unsure, but no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YouHaveSnail ( 202852 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @06:26AM (#10745727)
    As is so often the case when reading academic articles, it's hard to determine whether I agree or disagree with the author. I do, however, disagree with the notion that the concentration of economic power in cities is some sort of new or increasing phenomenon. Cities have always been, essentially, points of concentration of economic power. Concentrated economic power might even be the defining characteristic of cities.

    Many years ago, access to and control of natural resources such as salt or fish or arable land or water was the reason a city might develop. Today, access to man-made resources such as communications infrastructure, various markets, or even tax policies may be more important than natural ones. But the fact remains that different localities provide different operating environments, some of which are more advantageous to a given business than others. Place, therefore, still matters.
  • by infonography ( 566403 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @07:29AM (#10745851) Homepage
    heard that before? Yep it's Gibson. 2004 may be remembered as one the final gasps of the right. Globalization inevitable. It isn't some sort of wishful, after the loss doctrine for the Left elite. The neo-cons want to build walls against change and unfamiliar ideas.

    Unfortunately for them, their own plans are about to lead them to cultural ruin []. Bush's plan to provide High Speed internet to the nation should be read as what to him would seem akin to the Rural Electrification Project. Where the idea was, lets get power to the people out in the farms so they will be more competive and produce more. That sort of backfired. They got used to the power and started wanting more. More TVs, DVD [], Fancy cars and the lowly Banana. []

    The upshot was that the young started to abandon the farms in droves. As they did the cheap labor of the farm children was replaced by cheap labor from immigrants. The old cycle was that the Farm would be inherited by the children of the farmer and next generation would take over. As the found new jobs as computer programmers and got MBAs they let their parents sell of the old family farm to large agro businesses []. Large Farms got larger and Cities got bigger.

    Wiring the rest of the county will give reason for companies to relocate to cheaper parts of the US and bring good jobs to town who's main income was the local speed trap. If your a Conservative Rural Republican in a Red State, visions of selling farmland to city slickers for housing and commercial parks must seem like heaven. Voting for Bush was voting your pocketbook.

    Now here comes the other side of the coin. Unlike mining towns of the 19th and early 20th Century you really can't lock people in. Your neigbors will undercut your housing deals because they all got buckets of land and nobody to grow whatever.

    City Slicker Programmers and the upper skilled workforce [] are not Conservative Rural Republicans, There those damn Blue State Liberals. [] They eat fish RAW!!!! [], A lot of them aren't even from the USA, most dress like they were extras in that confusing movie The Matrix []. As Techs and Tech businesses move to the boondocks they will turn the red states blue [].

    Right now the current FUD is that Liberals don't respect people with Faith. The fact is that the rural people can't afford to break the back of the liberal technology complex. Ever wondered why Strict harsh and very communist China hasn't stompped all over Hong Kong? China needs Hong Kong more then Hong Kong needs China.

    • What an ignorant load of tripe off-loaded by a self-presuming intelligencia.

      'Neocons' are as advanced and far-sighted as (certainly) you. It's just a different outlook.

      Can't be that though, can it? Got to be that you have the clear sight and they are ignorant bumpkins.

      • I agree with you. He doesn't even seem to understand it is Reganism and Thatcherism that pushed the free market economy and small government. He is so caught in his anti-Bush mentality he doesn't even understand what the Right really stands for nowadays.
    • OTOH, I think we'll find that people who wish to stay in relatively isolated regions will have a rural rather than urban culture.
  • by hughk ( 248126 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @08:35AM (#10745982) Journal
    The interesting thing is that Frankfurt led the world with it's electronic financial futures and options exchange, DTB, know known as Eurex []. Other electronic markets existed before, indeed some of the code came from a similiar project in Zurich.

    Now the cash market has become all electronic, yes the market place may exist in a building on the outskirts of Frankfurt, but the financial centre is no longer there. Much of the trading is actually taking place in London and Frankfurt becomes relegated to backoffice clearing and settlement operations.

    What I'm trying to say is that whilst the market place is important, it could be quickly established elsewhere. Where the customers are becomes more important.

    Essentiaally it means there is a movement towards a single financial centre serving a group of timezones.

  • Outsourcing yourself (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yahyamf ( 751776 ) * on Sunday November 07, 2004 @09:26AM (#10746088)
    I was working from home in the US and recently moved to the middle east. I still have the same job thanks to broadband internet and VoIP telephony. Cost of living here is much less, and it's nice to have the same US salary.
    • by bhima ( 46039 )
      I moved a couple of years ago and has the choice to be paid in Euros or Dollars. Given the state of the dollar, boy am I glad I chose Euros.

      Still your point is very valid: It's starting to matter less where you are located and more how connected you are.

  • I read an interesting book several years ago, Revolt of the Elites, [] that is very much on topic. The author argues that a global economy represents the breakdown of the nation state as the central political-economic unit, as the global economy encourages a cosmopolitan mindset among those at the top who benefit from it.

    While I don't agree that this represents "a threat to democracy" (just the opposite in my opinion), I think the book is very perceptive.

  • Re: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @10:00AM (#10746160)
    "We might find individuals thinking of themselves as New Yorkers first and Americans second, or Parisiennes first and French second."

    That is what is happening now. It is also the reason that New Yorkers and Parisiennes are looked upon so poorly by others in their own countries.

    • by dago ( 25724 )
      Did you put parisiennes on purpose ? bad experiences from previous relationships ? ;)

  • by agentk ( 74906 )
    How is this at all new? It's the story of human civilization, since the first of our great cities, such as Ur an Babylon.
  • Cities have become a net security risk.

    This is true not simply because of weapons of mass destruction and their proliferation -- but because of pandemics such as AIDS [].

    Packet switching protocols, such as IP, were originally developed to allow decentralization of critical communication infrastructure during the cold war. It's just incredibly stupid to not only continue to shove people into cities but to make a vision of the future based on "cities without borders".

    • Pol Pot! Is that You?
      • The nice thing about Pol Pot is that despite the fact that he decided to empty the cities of Cambodia in a totally stupid way, there haven't been enough movies made about his stupidity to program the populace into knee-jerk bigotry against reasonable ways of emptying the cities.
        • The Killings Fields is the only movie I'm aware of...

          A couple of years ago I moved from a big city in the US to a small city in the EU. I enjoy living here but did not realize how much until I went back for a visit. I had a hard time deciding which was worse the suicidal driving or the pre-election hysteria

    • by tmalone ( 534172 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @12:33PM (#10746704)
      Cities are cheaper to maintain. They also allow for agglomerations and pools of skilled labor. There is a reason that airplanes are made where they are made. There is a reason that certain cities were at the center of the dot-com boom. Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco. MIT, University of Washington, and Stanford/Berkeley. What do they have in common? That's right, top of the line CS schools. Cities are the life blood of our economy. They are much cheaper to maintain than a huge network of rural homes and the physically bring people together, something that is very important to the creation of culture. Yes, great masses of people in single locations is a security risk, but then again, I seem to recall $2,000,000,000 being lost from tiny little programs running around our great decentralized network.
      • Instead of looking at the dot-CON bubble as the exemplar of technical innovation, you should look at the Wright Brother's bike shop, the first computer (the ABC) built at an agricultural school in a small town in Iowa, the first supercomputer built by Seymour Cray on his farm with 25 assistants, only one of which had a PhD (a junior level programmer) and the desert workshop of Burt Rutan that built SpaceshipOne.
  • Cities? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by randall_burns ( 108052 ) <randall_burns @ h o t m a i> on Sunday November 07, 2004 @02:33PM (#10747491)
    What I think this article missed is that a lot of the "big money" does things like travel much of the year to avoid taxes. These folks are more likely to be found in places like Aspen or some of the nicer carribean resorts than cities. What really drives the cities are jobs that are located in cities for traditional or political reasons(i.e the New York Stock Market-the various political jobs in Washington DC). People with serious money have _choice_ and they usually don't for the most part choose to hang out in cities. Maybe some cites are doing better in the global economy-but with increased communication eventually the functions in those cities will move to someplace cheaper.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:55PM (#10747991) Homepage
    That's a weak article. Look whom he cites - Wired writers, most of them.

    "World Cities" have been around for a long time, all the way back to the Roman Empire. Overcentralization was once a key part of the control system of kingdoms and empires.

    Actually, finance is far less centralized than it used to be. There was a time within living memory when most major US companies were headquartered in New York. That's no longer the case. The international financial system, for most of the twentieth century, revolved around London and New York. Today, there are major financial centers all over the world. For a serious paper on the subject, see Rank Size Distribution of International Financial Centers [].

    Going against this trend is the centralization of power in the Washington DC area. For most of American history, there were few major businesses headquartered in the Washington area. That started to change some time during the Reagan administration, and now the Washington area is a major business hub, focusing on businesses which are defined by their relationship to federal regulation or spending.

  • Toffler? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Louse ( 610514 )
    I honestly dont know why people are still writing on topics that Alvin Toffler wrote about in 1969 with his wife. I mean, there was a movie made about his its not as if it didn't gain attention...and as a movie, it would be able to hold attentions of americans better it seems. Its just future shock revisited.
  • Author's Note (Score:3, Interesting)

    by panarch ( 794797 ) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @06:43PM (#10749301) Homepage

    As the author of the mindjack article on Sassen's "Global Cities" concept, I must say I'm fascinated and delighted to see all the discussion.

    Regardless of whether or not you agree with Sassen's basic premise, it does provide an interesting opportunity to muse on the effects of digital cultural production and reproduction.

    My own theory of Panarchy [] is considerably different than Sassen's "Global Cities." Where we agree is that networks are on the rise, and old-fashioned power hierarchies are waning. All else is details.

    I do think this transformation is something unique in human history.

The end of labor is to gain leisure.