Discuss the intellectual history of Anglo-American economic geography since the Second World War. What does it say about the field? What does it say about the economy?.
Economic geographers consider geography to be essential for the understanding of the ways economies work. Geography, in terms of place, space and scale, is intrinsically present in all economic processes. Coe and his colleagues go as far as to suggest that "the set of approaches offered by the field of economic geography is best placed to help us appreciate and understand the modern economic world in all its complexity" (Coe, et al., 2007, p. xviii). In this essay the specific economic geography of Anglo-America will be explored following the Second World War. A study of this period shows how the field of economic geography has evolved whilst the economy has grown in prosperous times and fallen back into recession. The best definition and measurement of an economy is contentious. For the purpose of this essay the economy will be considered as 'the state of a country or area in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services and the supply of money'. Furthermore, the size of an economy is best measured by gross domestic product (GDP).
Defining distinct epochs to explore the history of Anglo-American economic geography is challenging. This difficulty reflects the manner in which economic geography evolves, which is not in a regular, incremental or cumulative manner. Nor can changes be explained by a single mechanistic pattern (Bryson, et al., 1999). Despite difficulties in categorising the development of economic geography, four epochs are laid out. These periods are, the movement of spatial analysis and regional economic geography of the 1950s and 1960s, the interest in political economic approaches and the early influences of the cultural turn in the 1970s and 1980s, the intensification of research in regional- global interactions in the 1990s and finally contemporary geography since 2000 (Scott, 2000).