Poverty chains and global capitalism

Selwyn, Benjamin (2019) Poverty chains and global capitalism. Competition and Change, 23 (1). pp. 71-97. ISSN 1024-5294

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The proliferation of global value chains is portrayed in academic and policy circles as representing new development opportunities for firms and regions in the global south. This article tests these claims by examining original material from non-governmental organizations’ reports and secondary sources on the garment and electronics chains in Cambodia and China, respectively. This empirical evidence suggests that these global value chains generate new forms of worker poverty. Based on these findings, the article proposes the novel Global Poverty Chain approach. The article critiques and reformulates principal concepts associated with the Global Value Chain approach – of value-added, rent and chain governance – and challenges a core assumption prevalent within Global Value Chain analysis: that workers’ low wages are a function of their employment in low productivity industries. Instead, it shows that (1) many supplier firms in the global south are as, or more, productive than their equivalents in the global north; (2) often predominantly female workers in these industries are super exploited (paid wages below their subsistence requirements) and (3) chain governance represents a lead firm value-capturing strategy, which intensifies worker exploitation.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Development
School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2018 14:33
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 12:56
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/78885

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