"The Other Workers in the Advanced Corporate Economy"
(page 2 of 4)
Growing Inequality as Part of the Advanced Economy
There are three processes of economic and spatial organization I see
as central to addressing the question of inequality. One is the
expansion of the producer services and corporate headquarters sector,
and their consolidation into the economic core of major cities. While
this sector may not account for the majority of jobs, it establishes a
new regime of economic activity and the associated spatial and social
transformations evident in major cities.
A second process is the downgrading of the manufacturing sector, a
notion I use to describe a mode of political and technical
reorganization of manufacturing, which should be distinguished from the
decline and obsolescence of manufacturing activities. The downgraded
manufacturing sector represents a mode of incorporation into the
'post-industrial' economy rather than a form of obsolescence.
Downgrading is an adaptation to a situation where a growing number of
manufacturing firms are competing with cheap imports, and, secondly, the
profit-making capacities of manufacturing overall are modest compared
with those of leading sectors such as telecommunications or finance and
their sister industries.
The third process is the informalization of a growing array of
economic activities, which encompasses certain components of the
downgraded manufacturing sector. Like the latter, informalization
represents a mode of reorganizing the production and distribution of
goods and services under conditions where a significant number of firms
have an effective local demand for their goods and services, but cannot
compete with cheap imports. They also can't compete for space and other
business needs with the new high-profit firms that are engendered by the
advanced corporate service economy. Escaping the regulatory apparatus of
the formal economy, even if partially, enhances the economic
opportunities of such firms.
These diverse trends come together particularly strongly in cities.
The table below shows the staggering poverty rates in our most
successful cities, and how that is tied to race/ethnicity.
Table 1 Economic Inequality in Major U.S. Cities by Race, 2006. Source 
The following table gives us a larger perspective on how the upper 10
percent of income earners have an extremely high share of all national
income: up to 45% in the 'prosperous' decades that began in the mid
Table 2 Income Share of the Top 10% of Earners, U.S., 1917-2005. Source 
*Income is defined as market income but excludes capital gains.
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4