Perspectives, Measurement and Empirical Investigation
Edited by Robert Stimson, Roger R. Stough and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 3: Endogenous Regional Theory: A Geographer’s Perspective and Interpretation
Michael Taylor and Paul Plummer INTRODUCTION The question posed in this chapter is: ‘How do we understand and intervene in processes of regional economic growth and change?’ Globalization is eroding the old economic certainties, increasing competition, reconfiguring the demand for skills, forcing the pace of technological and managerial change, transforming inter-firm relationships and changing (through commodification) the role of finance. Some would argue that there has been a sea change in the workings of national, regional and local economies with the end of Fordism and the coming of post-Fordist flexible specialization and mass customization. For policymakers, the pressing issue is how can appropriate and workable policies and programmes be developed to cope with the internationalization of production and consumption leading to rapid and radical change, foster sustainable and robust local growth and enhance local capacities beyond providing short-term palliatives for unemployment and its associated social problems? From an economic geography perspective, two bodies of discourse currently dominate our understanding of the processes driving local economic change: (1) the discourse of endogenous growth in the ‘new economic geography’ of the economists; (2) the ‘new regionalism’ discourse along with its social constructionist and relational underpinnings in economic geography proper and equivalent areas in other social sciences. Based upon seemingly contradictory criteria of success, derived from either the ‘stylized facts’ of endogenous growth theory or the ‘contingency’ of new regionalism, these bodies of discourse have become reified into a discourse of policy and practice based upon stereotypical understandings of the mechanisms that...
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