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 45: From National Capital to Dismal Political World City: The Politics of Scalar Disarticulation in Brussels

Stijn Oosterlynck


Stijn Oosterlynck THE BRUSSELS PARADOX: ECONOMIC DYNAMISM AND SOCIAL POLARIZATION Even a quick glimpse at the economic indicators for Brussels, officially the Brussels Capital Region (henceforth BCR),1 suggests that it is one of the richest city-regions in Europe. In terms of the Gross Regional Product (GRP) per capita for example, the BCR is the third richest European city-region, after Inner London and Luxembourg, and scores 221 per cent above the average of the 27 European Member States (Eurostat, 2010).2 In 2008, the BCR economy produced 679,889 jobs for a ‘labour active’3 population of 442,000 people (2007) (Corijn and Vloeberghs, 2009). This is an increase in jobs of more than 10 per cent compared with 1995. The BCR economy is heavily specialized in the public and private administrative sector (Deroo et al., 1998; Corijn and Vloeberghs, 2009). In 2001, only 11 per cent of salaried jobs were in the industrial sector, while 54 per cent of BCR jobs were in the government sector (16.2 per cent), business services (15 per cent), commerce (11.9 per cent) and financial institutions (10.7 per cent). BCR houses a large international public sector, with 41,000 people working for the European institutions, nearly 4000 for NATO and many more in activities related to the international public sector such as lobbyists (estimated between 15,000 and 20,000), journalists (estimated at 1400), lawyers, diplomats, and so on (Corijn et al., 2009). The Brussels cityregional service economy is hence strongly international in orientation (Swyngedouw...

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