Largely due to the exponential growth of worldwide migrant remittance
flows from the 1990s onwards, the so-called ‘migration-development nexus’,
or the issue of the impacts of (international) migration upon the
development of the migrants’ territories of origin, has been the object of
much renewed attention over the last few years. The latest wave of research
and advocacy has largely been an enthusiastic one, but the topic has
traditionally been characterised by a controversy that refuses to go away –
otherwise known as “the unsettled relationship”
No one denies that the scale and scope of the technological development of the last 60 years are unprecedented. This includes the rapid development of microelectronics technologies and the widespread diffusion of information and communication technologies. Bio-, nano- and alternative energy technologies are emerging as new frontiers. Not only has all this changed the everyday life of ordinary people, but the economy, especially its industrial structure, has also been reshaped. Productivity for existing products has grown significantly and the pace at which new products are created has accelerated. Economy and knowledge and/or technology are integrated with each other more closely than ever before.
In the concluding pages to his Limits to Capital, David Harvey makes a powerful argument that the configuration of space needs to be understood as an ‘active constitutive moment in the dynamics of accumulation’. By this, Harvey means that the configuration of space both enables and expresses the form taken by capitalist accumulation, while simultaneously acting as a possible mechanism of crisis resolution – a process that Harvey described as a ‘spatial fix’. Capitalism is continually precipitating shifts in the relationships between different spaces – the movement of capital and labour across countries and regions, devaluation of existing fixed capital complexes in specific spaces, the creation of new class fractions and alliances across geographical zones and so forth. Through this incessant reworking of its own spatiality, capitalism lays the basis for new and expanded possibilities of accumulation. Simultaneously, contradictions begin to grow within these spatial relations – over time developing into fetters on accumulation that inevitably end in a sharp break and transition to a new configuration of space.
The concept of the development of underdevelopment was originally used by Andre Gunder Frank to describe a historical process, which is the result of colonial or the neocolonial forms of economical exploitation and dependence. However, nowadays this concept must be understood in a Schumpeterian way. In the process of economic development, it is the establishment of the new paradigms of accumulation and reproduction of social wealth by leading countries. The countries not following or lately following the last developments experienced by the core countries are reproducing obsolete goods and services, in other words, developing underdevelopment. In some countries, this process may be aggravated by economic restructurisation through a process of deindustrialization concomitant with the establishment of non-dynamic unsustainable sectors as result of the activities of the financial sector. This process may be called as “The Latvian Disease”. This paper explicates this idea, showing how Latvia in the last few years faced both a process of underdevelopment and the development of underdevelopment, which would have resulted in the actual crisis with or without the international credit crunch.
The topic of “hegemonic transitions” has attracted much
attention in recent years as the rate of economic growth in East Asia surpassed
by far the one in the West. Based on the United States’ declining shares in
global output, trade and investments at the expense of East Asia, the claim is
that the centre of growth in the world economy is shifting towards the latter
part of the globe, towards China in particular.
Some Nostradamuses already envisage a “Pax Sinica” where “The renminbi will displace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency; Shanghai will overshadow New York and London as the centre of finance; […] global citizens will use Mandarin as much as, if not more than, English; the thoughts of Confucius will become as familiar as those of Plato
As some of you may have guessed, I take my title from David Harvey’s notion of “fix”; that the accumulation of capital is a value process that orders and reorders (or fixes) each and every aspect of economic and social life. This is not to be rigid or deterministic. Of course, Harvey’s inspiration came from within the field of geography and has inspired considerable scholarship over and above his own, both within this discipline and others. In the first instance, as geographer, his concern was with the (re)construction of space or the built environment in the process of accumulation. Subsequently, he has discussed other fixes such as for finance, and he might also have thought of his own understandings of the new imperialism, neo-liberalism and accumulation by dispossession as contemporary fixes for the modern era.