As the city conquered the world: a history of globalization in length, 4,000 years

Greg Clark in his new book “the Global city” defines the many waves of globalization, from obeying the laws of the market towns of Iraq the bronze age to the riches of Antwerp and the technological revolution in India.

As history shows, the city has always sought to embrace international opportunities in cycles and waves. By themselves, they rarely participated in activities on a global scale. To benefit from the new conditions of the city and take part in collective activities, and their decline or exit from the system global settings survive together with other cities as circumstances change affecting all of them.

The first in the world obeys the laws of the market town was founded more than 4000 years ago, in the bronze age, and their rich history are just beginning to understand. Happened urban revolution, in which a significant portion of the population, today living in the southern part of modern Iraq, lived in cities, and this urbanization process was accompanied by the release of the trade to a new level.

Further East, one of the first cities with diverse economies and diverse societies were Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, that are located on the territory of modern Pakistan along the Indus valley. They stood in the way of routes on which there was a trade in precious stones, and covered all of Central Asia.

The city became the center of a vast trading network based on a common culture and language, and developed the infrastructure to ensure a high standard of living of its population. Thanks to the deep-rooted cultures and orientation on the external connection, they already started to show signs of global cities.

An important lesson to be learned from the early waves of urbanization and international activities of cities is that the interaction often stimulated valuable assets and luxury items. Once China began to expand its horizons, trade horses, silk, bamboo, rice and wine became more active and were used by diplomats as a guarantee of peace between the empires and cities. Silk has even become an international currency.

For several hundred years the world has narrowed significantly through well-developed trade networks. Wrote historian Peter Frankopan, in his book “the silk road”: “We believe globalization is a unique contemporary phenomenon, though 2000 years ago it was nothing more than one aspect of life that provided opportunities created problems and stimulated technological progress.”

The first European city to have developed a network that is similar to the modern, was Rome. His Empire consisted of a Federation of cities stretching from Spain and Scotland in the West to the Euphrates river in the East and adjacent territories. For prosperity against the backdrop of sharply increased mobility and commercial activities of Rome provided them administrative control, stability, monetary regime and tax structure.

By the mid-Roman era, the majority of modern historians perceive the world more globalized. Polybius in his “universal history,” wrote that “starting from this time the history becomes as if one, the events of Italy and Libya, infused with the Asian and Hellenic, and it all comes down to the same end.”

Seated among the features of this wave of globalization of cities, which obey the laws of the market, was much more extensive and varied trade between the continents. This trade led to the opening of a new shopping area in the Indian ocean and direct trade with India. Roman urban network also contributed to the spread of religion, and the cities of the Roman Empire later became the concentration of religious institutions. This era was perhaps the only time the power and influence of one city to become a fundamental boost to Intercontinental trade.

At that time, as the rise and fall of Rome as a global city has been documented, has renewed its global significance whenever provided the geopolitical opportunity.

Istanbul, for example, survived many cycles of global exchange for the past two millennia due to its unique strategic location between Europe and Asia. In the fourth century ad, formerly known as Byzantium, the city was transformed beyond recognition by the Emperor Constantine and renamed Constantinople, as they were close economic and political interests of Rome in the Eastern part of the Empire.

© RIA Novosti, Natalia Seliverstova | go to Photobacterium of Flavius (the Colosseum) in Rome

The authorities needed was an open city in close proximity to the supply lines of Rome along the silk road, through the Black sea, Anatolia and rich wheat areas in the valley of the river Nile. As a result, the Constantinople took over the functions of command and control and attracted ambitious Roman citizens and merchants from all over the world.

Constantinople became a kind of cultural melting pot that contributed to the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Despite the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Constantinople a little later, in the XVIII-IX centuries, regained its importance a vibrant shopping node. Having a rigid system of state control over factories, workshops, wages and fees, the city had trade links with Russia, China and Africa, whose merchants were attracted by its gold and silk. The city has transported the goods to Venice, Pisa, Genua, Europe and back, and was once United under its roof 60 thousand Italians.

Much later, in the era of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople became Istanbul. His leadership seized the new opportunities of European trade and became actively invite intellectuals from the Muslim world. While the influence of Istanbul that increased, decreased, its strategic position has repeatedly proved its worth for focused on external relations leaders and attracted entrepreneurs and innovators from among the immigrants.

Shopping wave in Europe

A new wave of cities, to develop its international significance, emerged in the 11th-12th centuries, in the so-called “commercial revolution”. As population growth and urbanization, there was a two-pronged system of cities: some of them gained momentum profitable trade in Baltic and North seas, while many Italian city-States prospered through shipping, Commerce and banking.

It was a time of coexistence of many systems of rules and governance. In the process of the growth of the city became independent or semi-Autonomous entities with their own military potential. This wave of globalization was also characterized by the presence of a strong merchant class that dominated in a market economy, and played an active role in the leadership of the cities.

During the Crusades, the Italian city used the geopolitical expansion of trade and banking for military campaigns. Venice, in particular, had privileges in the Byzantine Empire and expanded ties with the Pope.

With the success of Italy come to her and influence. By the end of 1200 years, Florence and Genoa minted gold coins as their own currency of Florence became dominant in the commercial and financial markets of Europe.

This wave marked the first time appeared close interaction of many regions and religions. Sociologist Janet Abu-Lughod in his book “Before European hegemony” gave a definition of the eight districts, stretching from Northwest Europe to the modern Malaysia and the Philippines.

This was the period when the city has achieved significant cultural, artistic and intellectual success, which stimulated both trade and knowledge exchange. Thus, the areas described by Abu-Lughod favored interregional contacts through Venice in the West and Malacca in the East.

Meanwhile, the geopolitical opportunity of the world after the Mongol invasion of the 13th century it also became a catalyst for the development and globalization of ports and caravan cities in the middle East.

One example was of Tabriz in present-day Iran, which attracted a large number of merchants and was considered the most cosmopolitan city of the 13th century. A city specialized in trading in gold, silk fabrics and precious stones. Five hundred years later it is still famous for its independent sales class.

During this wave, many of the leading cities were devastated by the outbreak of bubonic plague, but a well-developed network of the Hanseatic League and globalization has helped cities in the South of Europe to survive and unite with desire to trade freely. This wave of globalization is often considered a vital impetus to the subsequent spread and success of capitalism.

Postcolumbian wave

Since the 1500’s, globaluseroffline during the previous wave of the city began to experience the many long-lasting failures. Agricultural incomes declined, many cities have embraced a religious war. In Italian and Spanish cities began a process of de-industrialization, wages are uncompetitive, and the city in the East took part of the market. Began shifting in favor of the Northern European cities.

Globalization has acquired new features, and the city — a new role in a system where the sovereign state has extended its authority. Advances in cartography and shipbuilding have contributed to the improvement of the communication system and reduce the operating costs of cities. One of the changes affected the pattern of consumption: a new class of consumers who had the common goal of informing others about their situation and status, what caused significant increase in the production and retail trade.

Gradually improved connectivity, characterized by extension and integration of the global market, new ideas about one world and a sense of multinational identity. Northern European cities have been the great beneficiaries of this wave of globalization.

At that time began to appear the so-called “great divergence” between Europe and Asia. Many arguments were put forward in an attempt to find an explanation. One of the factors was that the merchants and bankers of Northern European cities were in a state of legal means to protect their investment and to protect capital against risk, which was not possible in the cities of Asia. Other key factors explaining this difference, called a higher rate of urban growth, increasing levels of government and focus on trade in the state policy of urban development.

Held the process of globalization, cities of this era considered to be European, but there were a bunch of other cities, which have entered global level due to Islamic conquests. In particular, since the early 1500-ies in the days of the Mughal Empire in the Muslim sphere of influence moved North Indian city.

Harmonization of market practices, share common customs and beliefs allowed such cities as Delhi, to be firmly integrated into the Eurasian trade routes, especially the export of textiles. Ahmedabad and Agra, which flourished thanks to the production investments in the English East India company, along with Delhi have reached a maximum population of 400 thousand people. Meanwhile Surat, located 200 miles North of Mumbai, was perhaps the world’s largest port, which lived 150 thousand people, and at some point, and the richest city of India.

According to many estimates, the production capacity of these Indian cities were placed at least on a par with the leading European centers of the time, including the leaders during the wave of globalization played in Antwerp and Amsterdam.

Antwerp gained fame by skilful use of his position transit point in the heart of the rapidly expanding Empire of the Habsburgs. The fall of Constantinople in 1453, weakened Venice and Genoa, and the river Scheldt, Antwerp has turned into one of the outposts on the way to inland waterways leading far into Western Europe. When in the next Bruges silted up the port of Antwerp, the merchants gradually began to achieve success in trading wool and fabrics, and through its port were held Portuguese spices from the East Indies.

By the mid-15th century, Antwerp became the main commercial hub between the Baltic sea, North sea, North Italy, France and the Holy Roman Empire. Several decades later, the stock market and the banking sector of the city became the largest in Europe.

The city has used its geopolitical advantage, when he was absorbed into the Spanish Empire of the Habsburgs. Obtaining a city of privileged access to a large unified market was the starting point for the supply of silver and other valuable products of the Spanish-American possessions. 40% of world trade was carried out through Antwerp at the peak of its development. He became European city of international significance with its own ambitious and competent merchants.

Due to the fact that urbanization in the region has reached 30%, the city has accumulated phenomenal wealth. The population is made up to the 1560 years of the 100 thousand people, but then the city suffered from persistent demands of Spain, desiring to transatlantic trade passed through Seville, and wealth, therefore, would be redirected in the direction of Spain. Involvement in the eighty years ‘ war and religious conflict led to the fact that the city was repeatedly besieged and plundered. He managed to keep a merchant spirit, he did not regain its position of world scale, although the port is now again starts to operate.

From Antwerp and Genoa, the role of the largest trading cities of Europe 1600 years moved to Amsterdam, which developed many of the technologies that underlie today’s global cities. The overthrow of the Spanish elite, hampering the interests of local influential merchants, had a lot of freedom to the Dutch merchants. Shortly after, the Spanish blockade of Antwerp provoked a flight of capital and talented entrepreneurs in Amsterdam.

This Protestant city was praised for its secure port, political stability and access to inland waterways. To the maximum its appeal, he raised guarantees equal protection for all traders, regardless of where they’re, with the development of standardized legal rules. Relaxed attitude to interest-bearing loans stimulated the development of in Amsterdam modern financial system, including marine insurance, turning the city into a logistics centre and a commercial investor Europe.

The establishment of the Dutch East India company and a powerful Navy helped Amsterdam to maintain control over trade routes and outposts in far-flung places as Japan, Indonesia, India and the Americas. Shipbuilders of the city became the pioneers in the field of creating new materials and cheap cargo ships, which significantly reduced transport costs. Amsterdam has quite the impact on supply chains to conduct price wars, giving priority to volume, not margins, to eliminate the weak competition and ensure a monopoly on the import of pepper, tea and sugar.

Consequences of European wars and the rise of British naval supremacy of the 18th century meant that the role of Amsterdam in the end moved to London. However, most of the best practices and assets acquired in the era of the supremacy of Amsterdam, remain relevant to this day.

Industrial wave

For many experts in the field of urban history, the modern era of globalization began with industrialization, the consequences of which had hitherto unprecedented pace and scale. Although the globalization of goods in foreign trade occurred long before the industrial age, industrialization really changed the whole society and not only the tastes of high-income groups.

To this historic moment, national governments have become much more efficient in the management of global trade and hazard reduction implementation, and transport — all the more reliable. These were the preconditions for the successive waves of globalization of cities, a diversification of the population, as well as opportunities for commercial innovation.

The turning point of globalization occurred in the late 18th century with the merger of geopolitics and technological innovation. Britain’s victory in the Seven years war strengthened the British influence in India, was introduced a more comprehensive system of colonial government. This situation has a positive effect on British industrial development, and in 1771 he invented the first mechanical spinning mill with water wheel drive. At the same time, intensified colonial disputes in North and Central America.

As a result, a new wave of globalization took place in the cities of the British Empire. Regulirovschitsa of London the slave trade undoubtedly was crucial in the financing of British imperialism and industrialization, and cities such as Bridgetown, Barbados and Kingston, and Jamaica became subordinated to the needs of the Empire.

When the Empire expanded its presence to the East, attractiveness worldwide has acquired Cape town, Calcutta and Hong Kong, and Kolkata was subject to the system of mercantilism, and Hong Kong has become a tool of promoting free trade. In East Africa an important trading entrepôt became Mombasa town that had established relations in the field of Maritime business with India and the Arabian Peninsula and conducting trade with remote partners across East Africa. Others are available for flows of world trade city was Guangzhou (ex. Canton).

The British Empire had probably more influence on global cities than any of its competitors, and many cities that were included in the Imperial project, and remain highly influential figures on the world stage today. London, new York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Mumbai, Shanghai, Toronto, Cape town and Boston — each of them spread their value and influence within the British Empire.

The catalyst has often been the relationship infrastructure. One of the most striking examples took place in new York in 1825, when the first coalition of individuals and enterprises in the city started the construction of the Erie canal, connecting the city with the Great Lakes and Middle West of the USA. The availability of this waterway led to the phenomenal rise of a local industrial production and trade and the emergence of new financial and insurance companies, providing the growth of young America. Thanks to the most effective use of their relations, new York financial power, managed to beat Philadelphia.

In Britain, the success of cities such as Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham, contributed to access to Imperial markets and global reach. Manchester became the world’s first global industrial city, and London to 1840 exceeded the absolute record of the population of Beijing is 2 million people.

Many cities across Europe enjoyed unprecedented growth and development of the industry. Those that have undergone the process of globalization during this wave, had the same set of characteristics: historical knowledge in the field of trade, located near large rivers or seas, as well as the availability of natural resources such as coal, iron, and water.

Based on these key assets, places such as Bilbao, Bremen, Leipzig, Sheffield and Turin were able to build exceptional production Economics, specializing in the field of machinery, machine tools, ships and other industrial fields. They are attracted to the production of a huge amount of manpower and were pioneers with regard to public activities, education, and civic organizations.

Economic globalization has significantly spread in the decades preceding the First world war. One of the major groups of cities in this wave was an American. They then significantly modified and narrowed its specialization, combining industrial enterprises with the “second wave” of immigration, and giving them a variety of social and cultural characteristics.

New York specialized in advanced services and consumer products, Chicago became a center of heavy industry, and Los Angeles moved to the oil and creative industries. The indispensable role played by the multinational and enterprising population: new York, for example, became a major gateway for the entry of foreign labor force in the United States. In search of a better life in the city came tens of millions of immigrants, mostly Europeans, which turned new York into the multiethnic city an unprecedented scale.

One of the decisive factors of this wave of globalization of American cities was their infrastructure. Commissioning of canals, Railways, water systems, highways and sewer systems provoked extraordinary growth over the ensuing 50 years.

The postwar wave

A huge number of acquired global importance of cities appeared as a result of the Second world war. Changing geopolitics and investment support America has provided many commercially important cities the opportunity to become highly specialized. Often using effectiveness its officers, of the city of this wave of globalization has been successful in the recovery and forward planning to avoid the consequences of overpopulation.

Munich, Toronto, and Tokyo are examples of cities of this wave. They managed to achieve intensive clustering and organizational improvement in a supportive policy environment among the higher echelons of power. The effectiveness of the system of corporate governance on this wave demanded a cooperation with platform knowledge to develop successful products for export.

The city of this wave of globalization has retained importance until the middle of 1970-x years of age, acquiring during this time a lot of what supports the current competitiveness. Although over the past 25 years has not been without reductions in the growth and failures, they have successfully preserved the culture of knowledge and innovation in order to facilitate the specializations with global reach.

The most striking example of this wave was, perhaps, Singapore is a global city, which was a fully Autonomous city-state. The economic prospects of the city was uncertain until its independence in 1965. Traditional trade industry went into decline, production was idle as housing and roads urgently needed upgrading.

But the first Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan yew geographic limitations did not stop, and he immediately held an open to foreign capital, labour-intensive industrialization policy. In order to specialize in industrial technology, emphasis was placed on tax incentives for industrial investors, improving of labor discipline, technical education and foreign experience. Singapore immediately tried to strengthen its role in trade and communication using the multilingual situation in the city, having contacts both in the East and in the West and adhering to Western legal model.

Reaching the status of a global city, Singapore has continued to adapt to the global market through public policies and programmes that contributed to the development of light industry and high-tech research investments. In particular, the advice on economic development and housing development managed to derive maximum benefit from large government agencies to create effective systems across the city.

The awesomeness of the post-war wave of globalization was also in the process of decolonization in which many cities lost its Imperial significance. In the past, many global cities have deteriorated together with the decline gave birth to their empires. For London, for example, this period coincided with the difficult post-war process of de-industrialization, the decline of the ports and the irrelevance of regulation of stock exchange, banking and insurance sectors.

Although London has attracted migrants from the Diaspora the Commonwealth of Nations, the city’s population continued to decline until the mid-1980s, years before he revived the ambitions associated with turning into a significant global city.

Informatsionnaya wave

A decade after the oil crisis in 1973 and the subsequent global recession marked a period of great change in the world economy. The old concept has lost confidence on the fore new ideas and solutions. By the middle of 1980-ies was in full swing, a new wave of globalization, led initially by a small group of cities, but with the increasing number of smaller cities that only began to acquire global significance and focus on a global approach.

In the mid-1980s, a small group of elite financial centres began to return to activity, again attracting people, business and capital. London and new York have reversed the decline of its population, as occurred in London in 1986 “big Bang” in financial services heralded the advent of a new generation of international banks and firms providing business services.

For the Asian cities of this group, such as Tokyo and Singapore, this wave was characterized by more selective and tactical globalization. She contributed to the internationalization of financial and industrial sectors through to the liberalization reforms, as well as protected from excessive exposure to cultural influences of the West.

During this wave the city has restored its reputation information and media capitals of the respective regions. This period was characterized by an important change in the organization of control of some cities. In London was abolished, and then restored the system to the city government, in Hong Kong there is a new principle of “one country, two systems”, which was supposed to guarantee the support of the capitalist system for 50 years after the transfer of the city by Britain to China in 1997, and in new York, their significance lost to the Federal government.

At the same time, the new wave of globalization is demonstrated by many of the cities that until then were focused on a global approach. The global geopolitical context has changed significantly in the fall of communism in Europe, the unification of Germany, which began in 1980, opening access to the Chinese economy, and the Oslo Accords, which were part of the Arab-Israeli peace process in 1993.

New trade agreements like the European economic area and North American free trade Association, and the establishment of the world trade organization in 1995 marked the beginning of an era of multilateral relations, which stimulated the globalization of many countries and cities. These factors have created a favourable climate for the growth of the leading cities of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and smaller cities of the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) and countries of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Australasia. Among the most notable cities that emerged at the global level in the course of this wave was Bangalore, Barcelona, Cape town, Sydney and tel Aviv.

New chassis of specialization associated with the revolution in information and communication technologies, has provoked an unexpected globalization of many cities. One of the most striking examples is Bangalore, whose electronics industry literally took off after the advent of Texas Instruments in 1985. This prompted other multinational organizations to change their location and improve the conditions for local software projects, laying the platform for the subsequent climbs in the supply chain.

Another striking example had promoted the globalization of innovation on this wave is tel Aviv. The spirit of Commerce and entrepreneurial capitalism this young city was transformed into an open and horizontal concentration of skills in Finance, optics, communication, information systems, medicine and software. This strong technological base has been supported with investment by the Israeli army in the war industry of the city, which provided a regular stream of high quality professionals.

Due to the fact that the technological cluster of tel Aviv have benefited from a comfortable agreement of the investors and a positive relationship to risk, the city gained fame for its many high-tech inventions. His leadership since then has always sought to emphasize the pluralism of tel Aviv, his tolerance and willingness to invest, thus increasing the global potential of the city.

This wave is distinguished by a more thoughtful approach of the city authorities and the growth of strategic planning for cities undergoing globalization. In cities such as Barcelona and tel Aviv, the city authorities have developed a strategic approach to infrastructure issues, quality of life and architecture to attract international experts. Many had also converted its industrial land for the implementation of more innovative activities. In almost all cases, these cities witnessed an unprecedented wave of diversification of the population, reeling from the immigration and turnover of employees. The climax of this wave in 2007-8 the years these cities have had very different global challenges and emerged along with the growth of new issues.

The current wave

During the most recent cycle of globalization of the city were characterized by uniqueness and specialization. Many of them have the highest levels of income within the respective regions and strive to maximize the use of its infrastructure, improved quality of life and higher compared to major Metropolitan areas, the level of safety and environmental performance.

The city of this wave are less likely to make any serious political or organizational functions. They prefer competition in a more dynamic and fast-growing global industries, provides the possibility of expanding market share. This group includes Brisbane, San Diego, Shenzhen, the capital of Chile, Santiago and Stockholm.

Due to the global economic crisis and its impact on the financing of the public sector, the ability of the cities to find new sources and instruments for investment was a key factor in globalization, since 2008. Brisbane is a great city that has managed to go through the process of globalization with the help of astute financially the city authorities, who used the windfall from the recent boom in the market of consumer goods to create an improved international model for economic development.

The city Council of Brisbane has conducted a number of joint ventures, organizing business and sports events and convinced the government to give preference to funding road and rail infrastructure of the city. He also experimented, sometimes successfully, with the state-public associations and toll roads.

Investment attractiveness of the city owes much of its reputation in Asia, where its Ambassador program has increased communication with foreign investors and helped to better enter the dialogue with Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian trading companies. The opportunity to attract a new generation of immigrants and entrepreneurs was crucial to the success of many cities of this wave.

Another important aspect was the ability to transmit opportunities and appeal to the world, be it to the professionals, investors or visitors. London is a great city, prosperous in this field since 2008. Thanks to the promotion of the organization “London & Partners” the city has informed the whole world that it opened for business and investment and supports new technologies and scientific industries.

In medicine, the media industry and digital industry winning formula has created a combination of industry-leading innovation and openness of the city with a powerful labor markets and universal livability. Human rights organizations helped maintain its appeal through successful lobbying is a competitive business and tax climate.

Lessons for cities of the future

The comparison of the waves of globalization that have occurred in the last two centuries, with the previous one illustrates that each successive wave becomes shorter. Where these waves lasted for a century or more, now they seem to have exhausted itself years 15-20, and in the future, their duration may decrease even more. As the world economy becomes increasingly integrated, the waves of globalization, cities increasingly resemble global economic cycles, and the opportunity to participate in these towns quickly disappear.

Despite the vast differences between the networks of cities along the ancient silk Road, and the system of global chains evaluation and competitive advantages of the 21st century, there are also striking similarities. The modern city can learn much from how the previous waves, other have built and maintained their competitive properties, and how they managed not to stay locked inside unstable or unproductive development cycles.

Not all of today’s leading cities was destined to play a key role in the global economy. Many have begun with an unpromising or a non-competitive situation because of their weakness or external faults. Sometimes the city experienced prolonged periods of global isolation and began to be internationalized only if there is geopolitical changes and the presence of foreign investment. This is what took place in the 20th century and in our time it has become noticeable in many other cities outside of the West.

In addition, the rise and fall of cities mean that some of those that we today consider global, in the future will probably be much less focused on the world market. As history shows, there is a risk that the city may lose competitiveness and fail to innovate, or to expand, will close for immigration and entrepreneurship or will not be able to adapt to the changing geopolitical or geo-economic centre of gravity.

Components of today’s most successful cities is sometimes difficult to adopt directly, and therefore any alternative strategy and development options global interaction. Over time, these paths lead to the emergence of global cities of different types.

This excerpt was reprinted from the book of Greg Clark’s “a Global city: a short history” (published by the Brookings institution, 2016) with permission of the author. Clark is an Advisor, mentor and senior fellow at the Brookings institution.