Nigel Harris

On Economic Globalization, Neo-Liberalism and the Nature of the Period – Discussion Notes (Nigel Harris)

Nigel Harris wrote that the charge of “imperialism” has served the Left for a very long time as a supreme accusation against the political order of the world. The term implies not that strong States invariably try to bully weaker ones, nor that “imperialism” is just a fancy name for Washington, but that there is a world political order embodying systemic relations of domination. However, while once there might have been relatively robust theoretical underpinnings to this approach (in Lenin's popularization of the combination of Hobson and Hilferding1), the thesis has long since been shown to be doubtful2. On the other hand, imperialism's opposite, “national self-determination”, seems equally of doubtful validity in conditions of economic globalization. Indeed, these theoretical difficulties become even sharper when it is recognized that Washington, the supposed global hegemon, is itself trapped in an apparently insoluble crisis in the global economic order – the political agenda comes apart from the economic. What follows are some notes for discussion on an alternative approach to characterizing the world order.


Nigel Harris is an independent economic consultant, Professor Emeritus of the Economics of the City at the University of London. He was on the full-time staff of the Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London (UCL), for 28 years and Director (1982-89).

Nigel has worked in much of the developing world (but particularly India, east and south-east Asia, Mexico and Colombia) for governments, international agencies and private consultancies.

His areas of expertise are in:

CDS in Iran (Nigel Harris)

Nigel Harris has been working with the World Bank developing the ToR for City Development Strategies (CDS) for three cities in Iran.

Nigel Harris

Nigel Harris

Nigel Harris - publications


The Return of Cosmopolitan Capital: Market, State and War, IB Tauris
Thinking the Unthinkable: the immigration myth exposed, IB Tauris
Cities and Structural Adjustment (with Ida Fabricius, Editors), ODA-DPU, UCL Press
Jobs for the Poor: A Case Study in Cuttack (with Sunil Kumar and Colin Rosser), Research Press
The New Untouchables: immigration and the new world worker, IB Tauris/Penguin
Cities in the 1990: the challenge for developing countries,
(Editor) ODA-DPU, UCL Press
National Liberation, IB Tauris, republished by Penguin 1992, University of Nevada 1993.
Cities, Class and Trade: social and economic change in the third world, IB Tauris
The end of the Third World: the Newly Industrialising Countries and the decline of an ideology, IB Tauris, Penguin, Viking, London and New York
Of Bread and Guns: the world economy in crisis, Penguin, London
Economic Development, Cities and Planning: the case of Bombay, Oxford University Press, Bombay and London
The Mandate of Heaven: Marx and Mao in Modern China, Quartet, London
India-China : Underdevelopment and Revolution, Vikas and Carolina Academic Press, New Delhi and Durham, North Carolina
Competition and the Corporate Society: British Conservatives, the State and Industry, 1945-1964, Methuen, London, reprint 1973.
Beliefs in Society: the problem of ideology, Watts and Penguin, London, reprint 1971.

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Reports, papers, contributions to books (1990-2012)

On Economic Globalization, Neo-Liberalism and the Nature of the Period – Discussion Notes. Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai), LVII/22, 2 June 2012, pp.28-32.
Towards new Theories of Regional and Urban Development, Economic Research Institute, National University of Mexico (May 2004), reprinted, Economic and Political Weekly, Mumbai (12 Feb.2005)
New thinking about urban and rural development, (with Frank Ellis) DFID
The impact of the reform of International Trade on Urban and Rural Change, DFID
Cities and Globalisation, paper prepared for World Bank Urban Research Symposium, Washington
Cities Alliance: An Assessment of the First Three Years,
(with Patrick Wakely), final report, Cities Alliance, Washington DC
Globalisation and the Management of Cities, invited paper, Key territorial issues in an era of globalisation and localisation (Spatial development policies and territorial governance). OECD seminar, 10-11 April 2,000, Paris. Published in Towards a New Role for Spatial Planning, OECD
Preparing an economic and strategic vision for a city, in Mila Freire and Richard Stren, The challenges of urban government: readings on policy and practice, World Bank Institute and the Centre for Urban and Community Studies, University of Toronto
Should Europe end immigration controls? Paper invited for the 9th General Conference, European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes, Paris, Sept. 1999.Published in European Journal of Development Research
Garment making and urbanisation: an introductory study of four cases (Shubra el-Kheima, Egypt; Tirupur, India; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Shenzhen, China), Urban Partnership, Working Paper series No. 6, World Bank, Washington DC
Overview: the future of urbanisation Asia in Graham P.Chapman, Ashok K.Dutt and Robert W. Brodnock (Eds): Urban Growth and Development in Asia, Vol.1: Making the Cities Work, Ashgate, Basingstoke: 6-18.), Las ciudades y el cambio structural, in Javier Delgado y Blanca R.Ramirez (Eds.), Territorio y Cultura en la Ciudad de Mexico, Tomo 1: Transiciones; Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana y Plaza y Valdes, Mexico:25-36.
The freedom to move, pp.265-280, in Gareth Dale and Mike Cole, The European Union and Migrant Labour, Berg
Cities in a global economy: structural change and policy reactions, in Urban Studies, Vol. 34, No.10, 1997.
The economic future of Ji-Long City (Taiwan), RSP-DPU, Singapore
The Warmaking State and privatisation, (with David Lockwood), paper for ESE/EMOT Workshop, Processes of Industrial Transformation: East-Central Europe and East Asian Comparisons, Budapest, May 1995; revised version published in The Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 33, No.5, June 1997, pp.597-634 (awarded the Dudley Seers Memorial Prize, 1998).
Myanmar: Poverty, Human Settlements and Economic Development, UNCHS/UNDP, published as DPU Working Paper No. 78; version forthcoming UNDP, New York.
Bombay and Structural Adjustment, in Sujata Patel and Alice Thorner (Eds.), Bombay : Metaphor for Modern India, Oxford University Press, Bombay
Cultural diversity and economic development: migration, paper for OECD-Government of Australia Conference, Melbourne, Nov. 1994, published in OECD, Cities and the new Global Economy: Conference Proceedings, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, Vol. 1,pp. 294-305.
Cities in the new global economy, paper, as above.
Structural adjustment and cities: three papers, DPU Working Paper No.63, London
Urbanisation and developing countries: a world view, The Urban Foundation, Johannesburg
The economic future of I-Lan County (Taiwan) DPU-RSP, Singapore
Nationalism and Development, in Renee Prendergast and Frances Stewart (Eds.), Market forces and world development, Development Studies Association/Macmillan, London
Urban economic development in Europe: five case studies, USAID, City of Warsaw seminar on Economic Development Issues and Options, Warsaw
Slum dwellers and the Cuttack labour market, Report for the Overseas Development Administration, London
Mexican trade and Mexico-US economic relations, in Neil Harvey (Ed.), Mexico: dilemmas of transition, Institute of Latin American Studies(University of London) and British Academic Press, London and New York, pp.151-172.
The urban environment in developing countries (main author), UNDP, New York.
Juarez: urban issues survey (contributor), Urban Development Division, Discussion Paper, World Bank.
States, economic development and the Asian Pacific Rim,in Richard P. Appelbaum and Jeffrey Henderson (Eds.), States and economic development in the Asian Pacific Rim, Sage, Newbury Park, 1992, pp.71-84.
The urban contribution to national economic growth in Nepal, Royal Government of Nepal(mimeo), UNDP/World Bank, 1991/DPU Working Paper 60, DPU, London
The key to Korean development: economic nationalism or world economy? paper, Colloquium on Economic Development in East Asia, University of California, Santa Barbara
The Greater London Council, paper for an international seminar, held by Emplasa, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, on the Planning and Management of Sao Paulo, May 1990, published in SEP et al., Sao Paolo Metropole: Planejamento e Gestao, Nova Stella, Sao Paulo
The economics of the urban environment in developing countries, DPU Working Paper
The Pacific Rim and Mexico's external economic relationships, DPU Working Paper 19, published in my City, class and trade: social and economic change in the third world, IB Tauris, London, 1991.
Mexico-US economic relationships in a world context published (in Spanish) in Arturo Anguiano(Coord.), La Modernizacion de Mexico, UAM-Xochimilco.
Urbanisation and economic development, ODA-commissioned paper for French Government conference of international aid donors, Lille, Nov. 1989, published in Les Villes: Moteurs du developpement economique des pays du Tiers Monde, , Ville de Lille, Vo.2.

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