Trade Migration Telecommunications
Nature Flows of physical goods Flows of people Flows of information
Types Raw materials, energy, food, parts and consumption goods Permanent, temporary (migrant workers), tourism, business transactions Communication, power exchanges, symbolic exchanges
Medium Transport modes and terminals (freight) Transport modes and terminals (passengers) Transport modes and terminals (postal), telecommunication systems
Network Hub and spoke with interconnections Hub and spoke Redundant and diffuse (point to point)
Main Gateways Ports Airports Global cities
Speed Low to average Slow to fast Instantaneous
Capacity Very large Large Almost unlimited
The Flows of Globalization
There are three main types of flows in a global economy:
  • Freight (trade). Concerns flows taking place to satisfy material demands ranging from raw materials to finished goods. This is mainly assumed by maritime shipping, which is supported by port infrastructures acting as the main gateways of this flow system, but airports play an important role in the trade of high value goods.
  • Passengers (migration). The flows of people taking place for a variety of reasons, most of them related to tourism with air transportation being the dominant mode supporting such flows. The global air transport system can handle about four million passengers per day.
  • Information (telecommunications). The complex and extensive flows of information used for communication, power exchanges (e.g. an online order) and symbolic exchanges (e.g. education). Information flows can both take a physical (e.g. parcels) and non-physical form, which are dominantly articulated by a network of global cities.