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Egor Koshelev
Egor Koshelev

Global Shift, Seventh Edition: A Synthesis of the Latest Ideas and Data on the World Economy

Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy

Globalization is a term that is often used to describe the increasing interconnectedness and interdependence of the world economy. But what does it really mean, how does it work, and what are its effects on people and places? These are some of the questions that Peter Dicken addresses in his book Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy, which provides an accessible, jargon-free analysis of how the world economy works and its effects on people and places. In this article, we will summarize the main arguments and insights of the book, as well as its limitations and gaps.

Global Shift, Seventh Edition: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy


In the introduction, Dicken defines globalization as "the widening, deepening, and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of contemporary social life" (p. 4). He argues that globalization is not a new phenomenon, but rather a long-term historical process that has accelerated in recent decades due to technological, political, economic, and cultural changes. He also emphasizes that globalization is not a uniform or linear process, but rather a complex and uneven one that involves multiple actors, scales, dimensions, and outcomes.

Dicken identifies three main objectives for his book: first, to provide a comprehensive overview of how the world economy works and how it has changed over time; second, to examine how globalization affects different actors (such as transnational corporations, states, workers, consumers, etc.) and places (such as regions, countries, cities, etc.) in different ways; and third, to explore how different actors and places respond to globalization and shape its future direction. He also explains his methodological approach, which combines quantitative data analysis with qualitative case studies of six major industries: automobiles, clothing, finance, food, information technology, and pharmaceuticals.

The Changing Contours of the Global Economy

In this part of the book, Dicken maps the changing contours of the global economy by analyzing its historical evolution, its current structure, and its future trends. He divides this part into three chapters: one on the rise and fall of economic regions; one on the shifting balance of power among transnational corporations; and one on the changing role of states and international institutions.

The rise and fall of economic regions

The shifting balance of power among transnational corporations

In this chapter, Dicken examines the role and influence of transnational corporations (TNCs) in the global economy. He defines TNCs as "firms that have the power to coordinate and control operations in more than one country, even if they do not own them" (p. 88). He argues that TNCs are the main drivers and beneficiaries of globalization, as they seek to maximize their profits and competitiveness by exploiting the differences and opportunities in different markets, regions, and countries. He also shows how TNCs have changed over time, becoming more diversified, networked, and flexible in their strategies and structures.

Dicken analyzes the distribution and concentration of TNCs across different sectors, regions, and countries. He reveals that TNCs are highly unevenly distributed, with a few dominant firms accounting for a large share of global production, trade, investment, and innovation. He also shows that TNCs are predominantly based in a few core regions (such as North America, Western Europe, and East Asia), but have increasingly expanded their operations and presence in other regions (such as Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa). He also discusses the emergence of new types of TNCs, such as state-owned enterprises, sovereign wealth funds, and emerging market multinationals.

The changing role of states and international institutions