As mentioned before, technology and industrialization were the two initial drivers behind the economic and social phenomenon of Western urbanization in the 19th and 20th centuries. Thus, technology and industrialization are also the initial drivers for what one could consider as ‘urban sociology.’
In turn, the impact on urban sociology which stems from both ‘deindustrialization’ and globalization and in turn have moved an entire economic sector such as manufacturing from the ‘global north’ to the ‘global south’ has both positive and negative aspects or dimensions. On one hand, deindustrialization and globalization have led to rising inequality in the society as a whole, in addition to rising crime rates in urban areas, overpopulation in urban areas, widespread unemployment, and a drop in social services in urban areas.
But on the other hand, a large number of people who were once employed in the urban industrial sector or once benefitted from the urban industrial sector have now moved to finance, services, and technology. Thus, in a sense, the positive and negative aspects of both deindustrialization and globalization and their impact on urban sociology cancel each other out to a certain extent, although when one assumes a big picture perspective, this point becomes debatable. Some of the big picture issues which an optimistic view of deindustrialization overlooks is the fostering of class divisions and the social strife which emerges out of class divisions.
Some folks have deemed the combination of deindustrialization and globalization as well as the growth of finance, services, and technology as a mark of a society’s economic maturation. Increased economic “growth” is then tied into deindustrialization as well as into the general move towards greater investment in finance, services, and technology. However, the growth in these particular sectors coincide with a drop in the overall economic productivity and growth of the society as a whole.
Arguably, deindustrialization has led to improved environmental conditions in urban areas, although this notion or idea is debatable because of overpopulation in urban areas. Nevertheless, manufacturing once accounted for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and as a result of deindustrialization, greenhouse gas emissions have supposedly dropped in urban areas.
Deindustrialization and globalization also mean that the overall economy becomes more dependent on knowledge and information than on physical activity and traditional notions of ‘productivity’ and ‘output’ which stem from classic economic sectors such as manufacturing and industry. Thus, the negative impact of deindustrialization and globalization on social life can perhaps be overcome with greater investments in education and vocational training for more and more people.
The rise of finance and technology is also synonymous with the advent of what is known as the ‘neoliberal’ global order. However, the rise of finance and its influence on the central government through the strategy of “state capture” fosters corruption and instability in the society as a whole. The rise of finance also eviscerates and empties out government accounts and resources because of “state capture.”
Thus, the corruption and instability which spread throughout the wider society as well as through the entire global order actually originate in city centers and in the urban areas of Western society, not in the rural areas or suburban areas. One of my next pieces will be on “neoliberalism” itself, which serves as the basic ideology behind the dominance and power of finance and technology over the global order and in turn takes into account the impact of this ideology on the current condition and state of the global order.