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Global Networks and Flows

Example One Global networks and flows

Definition of Network

A network is an illustration or model that shows how different places are interconnected through different kinds of flows, movement and transfer.  Topographical map represents real distance whereas network maps represents perceived distance between two places depending on the factors of connectivity. Therefore, well connected places may be more closer together than nearest places. Forexample London is closer to Los Angeles than Detriot in network mapping.


What is a global hub? 

Well-connected places are called global hubs in network theory. London, New York city, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Dubai, Tokyo, Mumbai, Frankfurt all are considered as global hub. Global hub includes Alpha ++, Alpha + and Alpha cities. Alpha ++ cities are most integrated with the global economy. Alpha cities are mostly large megacities with large frequency and density of interconnectedness. They are also considered as the primary nodes in the global economic network. Cities are ranked by the Globalization and World cities research Institute (GaWC) based on several economic, social and cultural factors. GaWC is the leading institute ranking world cities. The latest ranking has been done based on 2016 data. Click here to access GaWc ranking of the cities based on their connectedness. 

American network and connectivity

Global Core-periphery

Signifies the spatial pattern of global interaction. The global flow is directed and regulated by core –periphery relationship.. The concept can be applied at various scales.


The World System theory of Immanuel Wallerstein (1974)

It is an approach based on the interpretation of the history of the world economy after the industrial revolution. Countries fall into three economic levels- Core- semi-periphery and periphery and can move from one level to another if their contribution to the world economy changes. It is a way of looking at the economic, social and political development of the world where the entire world is considered as a single unit and as a part of the capitalist world economy. Wallerstein argued that looking at individual countries in isolation is too simplistic to understand the world economy and spatial pattern of interaction.

Wallerstein viewed that the capitalistic world system has 3 main components

  1. A global market
  2. Free Market economy: Countries, which allow political and economic competition
  3. And a 3 tires system – core, periphery and semi-periphery

Note: What is capitalism? The social and economic system that relies on the market mechanism to distribute the factors of production (land, labour and capital).


Core regionsare the areas that dominate trade, control the most advanced technologies, have diversified economies and high levels of productivity. Peripheral regionshave high levels of dependency on the core regions because of the disadvantageous trading relationships that have developed historically mainly due to colonialism, less advanced technologies, narrowly specialized economies and low levels of productivity. Semi-peripheral regions,which were once peripheral regions, have moved up the ladder due to economic and technological development and in a position to exploit the peripheral regions, but are dominated by the core regions.

Is foreign aid bad for Africa?

Foreign aid origin and destination

Global drugs trafficking

Guinea-Bissau: the cocaine gateway to Europe

TNCs global strategies and supply chain

Transnational corporations manage their global production and sale through an integrated and coordinated system that involves sourcing of raw materials that go through different stages of production to transport, sale and consumption of the products. This is known as Supply Chain. A typical supply chain may involves extraction of raw materials, processing, assembly, marketing, retail sale, servicing, recycling and even disposal.

Alensen's lecture on defining TNCs

iPhone supply chain

Airbus 380's giant supply chain

Concept of supply chain


Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Read UNODC report on the problem of drug trafficking.  

 Examples of the Student’s homework: Case study on the global strategies and supply chain of Apple Inc.

The rise of Apple

Amazon's global reign

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