Saturday, December 15, 2012

Global Slave Networks

Eddie Truong
Blog #3

During the period of the challenge, I've started to wonder about my previous reflection and why certain products are so cheaply made. In "Global Commodity Networks and the Leather Footwear Industry: Emerging Forms of Economic Organization in a Postmodern World" by Miguel Korzeniewicz, the author discusses the implications of multinational corporations that draw resources from one country to be produced in another and exported to the final destination. In particular, multinational corporations target the cheapest methods to draw resources, assembled the product and sell them in another country to gain the most profits. In this way, corporations are able to target the cheapest locations to cut costs and gain the most profits by selling them in a country that can pay for the finished goods. In this way, countries that need the monetary investments of the corporations often turn a blind eye to the human rights violations committed in order to earn a pretty penny; a strong example of this was exposed by the No-Nike campaign in Viet Nam where sweatshop workers were being forced to work in inhumane conditions (Valverde 2012).

These processes are transnational in nature and involve many stages of production across various countries (Rodrigue 2012). What is interesting to consider is that these processes are cheaper than having all of the modes of production be centered in one country. In this way, we need to look at the political economy and culture of each individual country in order to examine the influence of the global commodity networks (Korzeniewicz 1992). Valverde points out that these commodity chains hold a neoliberal form of domination, through multinational corporations, over third world countries (Valverde 2012).

Once I understood the implications of global commodity networks and how it links the fates of countries to each other, I was able to understand how multinational corporations were able to navigate the politics of each country in order to find the cheaper sources of raw materials and labor to achieve the greatest profit, often at the expense of others through human rights violations. It's a insidious process and I will think twice about buying knockoffs or products assembled from other countries.

The video is particularly interesting because it reveals that multinational corporations serve to decapitalize a country's resources, create inequalities around the world, exploit poor workers/communities/countries and creates dependence.

Inside Sources
Korzeniewicz, Miguel. Global Commodity Networks and the Leather Footwear Industry: Emerging Forms of Economic Organization in a Postmodern World. Sociological Perspectives. Volume 35, No: 2, pp 313-327. 1992.

Valverde, Kieu-Linh Caroline. “Transnationalizing Viet Nam: Community, Culture and Politics of the Diaspora”. Philadelphia: Temple UP. 2012.

Outside Sources
Rodrigue, Jean-Paul. "Commodity Chain Analysis". The Geography of Transport Systems. . Accessed December 15, 2012. 

No comments: