Flexible Accumulation and the Rise of Business Services

  • Wood P
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Abstract

In spite of the economic and social significance of the switch to service employment in recent decades, the role of services in modern processes of spatial transformation is still theoretically marginalized. Service changes are clearly implicated in the emergence of new forms of capital accumulation, and therefore in modern patterns of spatial inequality. Business service functions form a growing element in the expertise supporting modern capitalism, which also includes that directly employed by their client organizations. Business service growth is seen as one facet of the 'flexible' use of skilled labour resources, possessing its own powerful dynamic, based in expertise that even large organizations cannot command. Capitalist accumulation is increasingly dominated by the contract between capital and expert labour. Among the important implications for contemporary change of the growth of business services, those considered here relate to trends in the organization of production, in patterns of technological change, in the relative roles of large and small firms, and in employment. Socially and geographically, the growth of independent business service functions exerts strong pressures towards the polarization of the quality of labour demand and economic opportunity.

Author-supplied keywords

  • BUSINESS SERVICES
  • DIVISION
  • GEOGRAPHY
  • LABOR
  • LOCATION
  • POST-FORDISM
  • PRODUCER SERVICES
  • PRODUCTION-SYSTEMS
  • REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
  • REGIONAL-DEVELOPMENT
  • SKILLED LABOR
  • SMALL FIRMS
  • SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT
  • TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE
  • UNITED-KINGDOM

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Authors

  • Pa Wood

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