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Chapter 4 – Globalization, Entrepreneurial Cities, and the Social Economyi - page 8 / 12





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global finance capital), there remains a link between the abstract and concrete dimensions in the need for a concrete 'spatio-temporal fix' so that disembedded capital can flow more easily (cf. Harvey 1982). In the case of global finance capital, of course, this 'spatio-temporal fix' is provided by the grid of global cities (Sassen 1996a,b).

These structural contradictions assume different forms in different contexts. This can be seen in the emerging post-Fordist accumulation regime. Not only are these contradictions expressed in cities which had a privileged place in the Fordist accumulation regime (as one might well expect) but they are also expressed in global cities (which one might regard as the success stories in the new era of globalization). Thus one finds an increasing contrast between private affluence and public poverty; between the depressing impact of the flight of productive capital from the inner city and the scope that still exists there for local demand-induced economic growth; between the short-term logic of the labour market and the resulting de-skilling and demoralization of the long-term unemployed; between the alleged imperatives of international currency markets and the fiscal needs of urban regeneration; and between the laissez-faire rhetoric of the borderless economy and the continuing (albeit transformed) role of national, regional, and urban governments in supplying mobile capital with its new forms of spatio-temporal fix. As these contrasts feed back in turn into the multiple crisis of the city forms inherited from the Atlantic Fordist period, they also reinforce the pertinence of the social economy as an alternative way of defining and addressing their problems (see the next section).

These contrasts are rooted in contradictions which were already evident in the Fordist period. They have become even more pointed in many cases due to the intensification of other sources of contradiction. Here we can mention the increasing interdependence between the economic and extra-economic factors making for structural or systemic competitiveness. Veltz expresses this in his observation that hard economic calculation increasingly rests on the mobilization of soft social resources, which are irreducible to the economic and resistant to such calculation (1996: 11-12). In temporal terms, this means that there is a major contradiction between short-term economic calculation (especially in the area of financial flows) and the long-term dynamic of 'real competition' rooted in resources (skills, trust, collective mastery of techniques, economies of agglomeration and size) which take years to create, stabilize, and reproduce. And, spatially, there is a fundamental contradiction between the economy considered as a pure space of flows and the economy as a territorially and/or socially embedded system of extra-economic as well as economic resources and competences. This leads to new dilemmas for the securing the reproduction of the capital relation over an expanding range of scales and over increasingly compressed as well as extended temporal horizons of action. Another contradiction which is becoming increasingly evident in the post-Fordist (or, at least, the post-industrial) accumulation regime is that between the information economy and the information society. Whereas the former is concerned with the private appropriation of knowledge in the form of 'intellectual property rights' so that it can become the basis for monopoly rents and national competitiveness (and is thereby subject to many of the tendencies towards market failure long recognized in the 'economics of information'), the latter is concerned with broadening public access to knowledge as a source of personal empowerment and the expansion of the public sphere. Here, too, the social economy has something to offer.

The social economy

Judging by the rhetoric surrounding the tendential emergence of Schumpeterian workfare postnational regimes, one would expect it to resolve these various post-Fordist structural contradictions and dilemmas -- at least for a while. But even their more ardent supporters often concede that in its currently predominant neo-liberal form that the SWPR entails greater social exclusion and marginalization than was evident during the period of the KWNSx. There is also growing recognition of the risks of a de-regulatory 'race to the bottom' in which bad economic and social policy drives out good in the inter-urban as well as the international spheres of competition.

It is in this context that the social economy provides an interesting and potentially significant counterpointxi. For the social economy challenges the very logic of capital accumulation within the economy, its extension to other spheres of social life, and the struggle to establish bourgeois hegemony over society as a whole. Against the logic of capital accumulation, especially its most abstract aspects rooted in the dominance of exchange-value (see above), the social economy prioritizes social use-value. Its proponents aim to re-embed the organization of the economy in specific spatio-temporal contexts oriented to the rhythms of social reproduction rather than to the frenzied circulation of digitalized finance capital. The social economy also opposes the extension of the logic of capital accumulation to other spheres of life such that education, health services, housing, politics, culture, sport, and so on are directly commodified or, at least, subject to quasi-market forces. In this regard the extension of the

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