Local economic responses to industrial migration in small towns.
Ngcobo, Raymond Mfankhona Bonginkosi.
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This thesis examines how globalization poses immediate and long-term challenges and opportunities for small towns and, as a consequence, for local economic development policy. The authors' perspectives raise vital questions about the shape, substance, and function of small towns in an increasingly interdependent and competitive global economy. The thesis provide both retrospective and prospective insights into the ways in which poverty, industrial migration, economic globalization, and technological innovation affect public-sector choices for small towns approaching the turn of a new century. The central theme emerging from this thesis is that the responses of the past will not necessarily provide a path to the future. Cities must innovate and adapt when seeking solutions to problems caused by rapid changes in their environment. Flexibility and creativity are key to designing public policies to deconcentrate poverty, increase opportunity, and furnish a better quality of life. For example, the continuing loss of jobs and population in many large cities can be reversed only with public policies that profit from the emerging global economy. Cities must strategically adapt to the information age by mobilizing public and private resources to be successful in the new, highly competitive economic environment by coming up with new locally designed economic development interventions in what has been termed local economic development (LED). LED in South Africa's small towns will be driven increasingly by forces of global economic interaction in the 21st century. Whereas the export sector is thriving, international trade and investment creating more and better paying jobs for developed, better-prepared regions, South Africa's small towns have yet to adjust quickly to these and other international forces. As they are unable to grow and prosper, and take advantage of global economic benefits, they are currently faced with numerous challenges of improving their local economic system to attract international investment, provide services and infrastructure to support globally competitive firms, and develop stronger entrepreneurial and technological capacity among small and medium-size companies. Local economic development and community action are essential to expanding and modernizing urban and rural infrastructure, strengthening mechanisms of community cooperation within small towns and fostering public-private partnerships to expand opportunities for employment. Demands for integrating the poor into economic activities has proven to be a vital element of local economic development that build on business-oriented approaches to community development. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies (triangulation), data was collected within the framework of participatory approach to social enquiry. Findings of this thesis provided a new perspective in dealing with local economic development and market failure. They also show that not all is worse, as community driven and locally designed economic regeneration programmes provide an alternative to global economic growth.