LAS 391K • SEMINAR IN ECONOMIC SYSTEMS
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Globalization of the world's economies has reflected systemic interpenetration at a variety of levels. Since the sixteenth century, a steadily rising volume of international trade flows began to reshape the economies of the world, a force that picked up notably in the nineteenth century thanks to revolutionary changes in transport and communications. In the latter half of that century, two other flows joined the streams of commerce: international capital movements (both portfolio and direct investments) and the great migrations of labor. In recent times, the migration of people has picked up again. During the twentieth century, foreign direct investment picked up substantially, with the result that international management and production systems became more widespread, joined by an increasing international integration of financial systems. The traditional inter-industry trade was accompanied by a growing volume of intra-industry trade, and with the ever-widening spread of multinational enterprises, even intra-firm trade became a growing component of international trade flows-adding new dimensions to Coase's familiar distinction between firm and market. Thus, national economies are now linked by dense networks of private-sector transactions in both factor and product markets (both goods and services). Alongside the globalized private sector, two other levels of systemic organization have emerged to compose the international economy: supranational organizations of increasing complexity and an independent or third sector consisting of the not-for-profit and nongovernmental organizations of civil society. The former provides an overarching framework of policies, laws, rules, regulations, and dispute resolution procedures which increasingly constrain cross-border transactions, while the latter, as it does nationally, generates streams of transactions that respond to instances of concurrent market and government failure. We shall be exploring in different national settings how creative industries, originating in any of the three sectors, have become platforms of local and regional development in an environment constrained by both national and supranational transactional frameworks. By creative industries we mean those in which intellectual property and kindred concepts represent a significant part of value added in the products produced by the industry. Some, for example, are found in the arts and heritage institutions, the film industry in Los Angeles or Bombay (Mumbai) having been a classic case in point. There are, however, hundreds of variations on this in countries in every region: e.g., St Petersburg in Russia, Guanajuato or Oaxaca in Mexico, Santa Fe in New Mezico. Other centers of economic expansion may be based on creative leadership in medicine, as in the Texas Medical Center, the Mayo Clinic, or the Cleveland Clinic, to name only three notable instances in the US, but again there are similar centers in other places, albeit perhaps not quite so cutting edge. More recently, the information technology industry has been a special source of creative energy, as in the Silicon Valley, Bangalore or Hyderabad, Belo Horizonte and, perhaps improbably, Recife in Brazil. Science-based development has also been attempted, as a way of preserving sunk capital, in such Russian cities as Novosibirsk. Here and there bio-technology at one point seemed to offer some promise as a leading industry, while more recently nanotechnology has grabbed the attention of policy makers and analysts alike. For that matter, the Morrill Act represented a national commitment to research and training to foster agricultural development across the US. The first part of the semester will be spent in exploring the territory and the significant work that has been done, as well as various analytical approaches. The second part will focus more on the individual research topics and interests of the seminar members.