The geography of services is no longer of local or national significance: it now embraces the international stage. Service industries have enabled, and themselves become participants in, world trade. Although this is not a new role, during the 1980s they have become a much more active ingredient in the process of social and economic change.New and diversified service products have generated increased consumption, ranging from tourism and leisure, to sophisticated innovations in ways of making finance capital available for corporate growth or production strategies. But there are spatial variations between the world's nations, regions and cities that ensure a highly uneven ability to supply services, and to generate demand. There are contrasts between the developed, less-developed, and post-socialist economies of Eastern Europe, for example, and between major metropolitan areas around the globe in the extent to which they experience the positive (as well as negative) effects of the internationalization of the service economy. This book examines some explanations for the expanding role of services in the world economy.
It is suggested that the resulting patterns are particularly significant for the form and function of the global urban system. The book concludes by reflecting on the future role of services in the world economy: can the trends evident for the 1980s be assumed to shape the evolving geography of services during the 1990s and beyond?
P. W. Daniels is Professor of Geography at the University of Birmingham, UK, and was formerly Professor of Geography and Director of The Service Industries Research Centre at the University of Portsmouth, UK. He has published widely on the geography of services.