International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities
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International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities

Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox

This Handbook offers an unrivalled overview of current research into how globalization is affecting the external relations and internal structures of major cities in the world.
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Chapter 22: Grasping the Spatial Paradoxes of Finance: Theoretical Lessons from the Case of Amsterdam

Ewald Engelen


Ewald Engelen INTRODUCTION Mapping the hierarchy of financial centers is a staid parlor game played by a small number of social scientists. While spatial to the bone, geographers have never succeeded in vesting a monopoly on this topic. In fact, the first post-war scholars interested in the dynamics of financial centers came from economic history. Kindleberger’s booklet of 1974 on the rise of financial centers is still the starting point for many scholars (Kindleberger, 1974). And even in the 21st century the most impressive work has come from economic historians such as Cassis (2006) and Michie (2006). The renewed interest in the fate of financial centers can be traced back to the ‘second wave of globalization’ that started in the mid 1970s. The effects of globalization 2.0 on the field of geography are hard to overestimate. Without exaggeration one could claim that without it there would have been no neo-Marshallian cluster theory, no rediscovery of industrial districts, no relational geography, no creative industry research as well as no ‘World City Hypothesis’ in its many manifestations. In this chapter, I zoom in on recent attempts to come to grips with the spatial dynamics of financial centers, focusing on the spatial paradoxes thrown up by those dynamics. In the next section I give a brief overview of the extant explanations for these dynamics. I end the section with highlighting some problems linked to these explanations. The subsequent section presents the empirical case around which this chapter is construed and explains why the...

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