Commodity Chains and Global Capitalism

Commodity Chains and Global Capitalism

Commodity Chains and Global Capitalism

Commodity Chains and Global Capitalism

Synopsis

In the past two decades, industrialization on a world scale has undergone significant shifts. This volume develops a new set of conceptual categories for analyzing new patterns of global economic organization. The contributors to this volume explore and elaborate the global commodity chains (GCCs) approach, which reformulates the basic conceptual categories for analyzing new patterns of global organization and change. The GCC framework allows the authors to pose questions about contemporary development issues that are not easily handled by previous paradigms and to more adequately forge the macro-micro links between processes that are generally assumed to be discretely contained within global, national, and local units of analysis. The paradigm that GCCs embody is a network-centered, historical approach that probes above and below the level of the nation-state to better analyze structure and change in the contemporary world.

Excerpt

Gary Gereffi,Miguel Korzeniewicz, and Roberto P. Korzeniewicz

Industrialization on a world scale has undergone significant shifts during the past two decades. The capacity to produce and export manufactured goods is being dispersed to an ever expanding network of peripheral and core nations alike. Economic globalization has been accompanied by flexible specialization, or the appearance of new, technologically dynamic forms of organization that usually are characterized by low equipment dedication, high product differentiation, and short production runs. In today's global factory, the production of a single commodity often spans many countries, with each nation performing tasks in which it has a cost advantage. The components of the Ford Escort, for example, are made and assembled in fifteen countries across three continents. Capitalism today thus entails the detailed disaggregation of stages of production and consumption across national boundaries, under the organizational structure of densely networked firms or enterprises (see Dicken, 1992; Porter, 1990; Reich, 1991). Crucial concepts in comparative sociology, such as national development and industrialization, are increasingly perceived as problematic in facilitating an understanding of these emerging patterns of social and economic organization.

But how novel are these emerging phenomena and world-economic patterns? Do they indeed signal the emergence of a new international division of labor? In order to successfully address these questions, we must find a theoretical approach that is analytically sensitive to historical change in order to evaluate and distinguish cyclical patterns from new trends. This framework must capture both the spatial features of these transformations across the world-economy, and the relationships that link these processes together. To contribute to such a theory . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.