Essay on London's Economy

2305 Words 10 Pages
King (1990, page x) argues that the dissolution of empire has been critical to the growth of world cities. How far does this apply to
London?

Modern patterns of development and growth have been shaped and influenced by the historical context of colonialism. Within this context relationships between capitalist and pre-capitalist states or colonies helped forge a world economy, which would later lead to processes of globalisation and the current economic world order.
Expansion in the world economy has been exacerbated by the freer flow of labour, goods, services and capital, which are features of the post-war, post-colonial world. King contends that these factors have been "critical to the growth of world cities." (King, 1990:
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H.G Wells described his impression of imperial London:
"It's a great place. Immense. The richest town in the world, the biggest port, the greatest manufacturing town, the imperial city - the centre of civilisation, the heart of the world." (Wells H.G, 1908:73)
In this essay I will be discussing the significance of King's argument with reference to the city of London. Imperial London will be introduced followed by a discussion of London's decline and its patterns of modern growth in order to ascertain how far King's argument applies to the City. Different types of growth are included, but emphasis is largely placed on the geographical and economic dimensions of London's change and development.

London's imperial role was crucial to the expansion of its fortunes.
Growth was inextricably linked with the colonial empire and took place in several key areas during the colonial interlude. London's Docklands represented a melting pot of colonial trade and commerce and were a critical facet of London's (and Great Britain's) economy that fed aspects of growth into the city centre and enabled it to thrive. In
1700 London handled 80% of the country's imports and 69% of its exports. Trade with colonies in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the
Indian Sub-Continent brought in tea, china, rice, tobacco and spices to the City and in 1799 the West India Company began to build docks on the Isle of Dogs