Princeton University Press
September 9, 1991
Something transcending city borders has produced massive and parallel changes in New York City since the late 1970s and in London and Tokyo since the early 1980s. What transformed these urban centers, with their diverse histories, into “global cities” that share comparable economic and social structures? Saskia Sassen argues that their remarkable similarity arises from their position as command posts in the emerging sector of international finance and advanced services for business – a sector that governments and firms treat as a new “basic” industry in the capitalist world.
Sassen provides a wealth of information about how global cities serve the international economic system and about the limits of finance-based growth. She compares New York, London, and Tokyo with other major cities in their respective countries and elsewhere. By focusing on production processes and the new financial sector, she is able to see the meaning of the full range of jobs, firms, and households in each city. In her view, the growth of informal economies, the casual isolation of labor markets, and economic and territorial bifurcation are not anomalies, as some have argued, but integral parts of global cities.
Saskia Sassen is Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University. She is the author of The Mobility of Labour and Capital: A Study in International Investment and Labor Flow (Cambridge).