The linking of city-forming processes to the historical movement of industrial capitalism was a means of studying urbanization from the 1970s. This method was devised by Manuel Castells and David Harvey in 1972 and 1973 respectively. As time progressed, the study of cities revolutionized and became connected to the world economy. Friedman aims at stating the central theses for linking urbanization to the economic status. His aim for coming up with the world city hypothesis is to serve as a reference point to establish the economic variable as being a valid explanation.
Friedman discusses seven interrelated theses which when combined, they all point at the importance of the economic factor. He attributes the structural changes within any city as being directly related to the involvement of the city in the world economy. This refers to the integration with the global system of markets and the functions served by the city such as political headquarters. Friedman also states that the world cities can be arranged into an elaborate spatial hierarchy with the principal cities being used as basing points in organization and manifestation of production as well as markets.
The structure of production sectors and the human resource factor are a result of the global control functions of world cities. This thesis is based on the dichotomous nature of employment with the highly skilled professional network on one side and an even more significant workforce of low-skilled employees. This is what prompts rural to urban migration as people search for jobs in the informal sector. The global control functions high-level facilities such as headquarters, communication centers, and business services. The author also claims that world cities serve as the parts where international capital is concentrated and accumulated. An exception made is when the policies forbid foreign investment in the city as it is with Tokyo, Japan.
World cities exhibit a trend when it comes to migration as they are desirable destinations for both domestic and foreign immigrants. The primary core cities are known to grow due to both migrants, but the world cities in the semi-periphery mainly rely on inter-regional migration. It is for this reason that countries such as Japan and Singapore have stringent measures to curb international immigration.
The significant contradictions of industrial capitalism, including spatial and class polarization, are evident during world city formation. For instance, the class division is showcased in the semi-periphery cities which have massive poverty resulting from an absence of middle-income sectors. The reduced wages result from the high levels of immigration meaning that the workforce becomes too large. The growth of world cities, therefore, come at a cost which may stretch the financial provisions of the state. This is due to the need to fulfill the needs for housing, education, health, transportation, and welfare. It is often that the poor immigrants tend to suffer harsh conditions due to inability to afford premium services.
I agree with the author that the world cities are linked spatially. It is true that such cities are regarded as dream destinations for workers from both within the state and from other countries. All in all, the seven theses are based on a few elements namely: the economic activities of the city, the employment opportunities, production sectors, size of the market, an influx of immigrants, levels of income, and the provision of social amenities. It is evident that the bigger the roles of a city, then the more the migrants who are seeking green pastures. In the end, a majority of such people form part of the low-income society living in poverty and without access to the essential amenities and secondary needs.
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