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…