There has been increasing interest and debate in recent years on the instituted nature of economic processes in general and the related ideas of the market and the competitive process in particular. This debate lies at the interface between two largely independent disciplines, economics and sociology, and reflects an attempt to bring the two fields of discourse more closely together. This book explores this interface in a number of ways, looking at the competitive process and market relations from a number of different perspectives. It considers the social role of economic institutions in society and examines the various meanings embedded in the word 'markets', as well as developing arguments on the nature of competition as an instituted economic process. The close of the twentieth century saw a virtual canonisation of markets as the best, indeed the only really effective, way to govern an economic system. The market organisation being canonised was simple and pure, along the lines of the standard textbook model in economics. The book discusses the concepts of polysemy , idealism, cognition, materiality and cultural economy. Michael Best provides an account of regional economic adaptation to changed market circumstances. This is the story of the dynamics of capitalism focused on the resurgence of the Route 128 region around Boston following its decline in the mid-1980s in the face of competition from Silicon Valley. The book also addresses the question of how this resurgence was achieved.
Open systems and regional innovation: the
resurgence of Route128 in Massachusetts
Michael H. Best
The Boston area has the highest concentration of colleges and universities,
research institutes and hospitals of any place in the world. The plethora
of graduate research programmes suggested that the industrial future of
Massachusetts was secure in the emerging knowledge economy of the late
However, the research intensity of the region has not insulated the state
from the vicissitudes of the business cycle. For example, after
causation to account for the continuing weak presence
of the UK in the software product segments of the global market.
In the final chapter, Michael Best provides an account of regional economic
adaptation to changed market circumstances. This is the story of the dynamics of capitalism focused on the resurgence of the Route128region around
Boston following its decline in the mid-1980s in the face of competition from
Silicon Valley. The chapter addresses the question of how this resurgence was
achieved. The core of the explanation is that a new model of business had to
organisation exemplified by Boston’s Route128 (Best, 2001). See also chapter 9,
The focus is also on vertical constraint in supply chains, the subject of further discussion below.
To take another classical sociologist, Simmel, it is possible to envisage forms of
competition which, far from acting to the detriment of others, simply spur others to produce greater variety (Swedberg 1994, p. 272). That conception is one
which almost presupposes growth, an expanding market, which does not reside
in efficient allocation of existing resources, with some
simple production. The sector
encompassed four types of technologies: resource-based (food processing),
low (textiles, footwear, leather and plastics), medium (the automotive industry), and high (complex electronic and electrical products). Between 1985
and 1996, the share in exports of products manufactured using medium and
high technology rose from among the lowest in the region (20 per cent) to
the highest (50 per cent). Thailand’s medium- and high-technology product
export shares exceeded those of China, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
What explains the change in the