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The Globalization and Development Reader: Perspectives on Development and Global Change, 2nd Edition by Nitsan Chorev, Amy Bellone Hite, J. Timmons Roberts

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23 Global Cities and Survival Circuits (2002)

Saskia Sassen

When today’s media, policy, and economic analysts define globalization, they emphasize hypermobility, international communication, and the neutralization of distance and place. This account of globalization is by far the dominant one. Central to it are the global information economy, instant communication, and electronic markets – all realms within which place no longer makes a difference, and where the only type of worker who matters is the highly educated professional. Globalization thus conceived privileges global transmission over the material infrastructure that makes it possible; information over the workers who produce it, whether these be specialists or secretaries; and the new transnational corporate culture over the other jobs upon which it rests, including many of those held by immigrants. In brief, the dominant narrative of globalization concerns itself with the upper circuits of global capital, not the lower ones, and with the hypermobility of capital rather than with capital that is bound to place.

The migration of maids, nannies, nurses, sex workers, and contract brides has little to do with globalization by these lights. Migrant women are just individuals making a go of it, after all, and the migration of workers from poor countries to wealthier ones long predates the current phase of economic globalization. And yet it seems reasonable to assume that there are significant links between globalization ...

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