Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A Contest of IdeasCapital, Politics, and Labor$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nelson Lichtenstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037856

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037856.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Supply-Chain Tourist; or, How Globalization Has Transformed the Labor Question

Supply-Chain Tourist; or, How Globalization Has Transformed the Labor Question

(p.29) Chapter 2 Supply-Chain Tourist; or, How Globalization Has Transformed the Labor Question
A Contest of Ideas

Nelson Lichtenstein

University of Illinois Press

This chapter, which yanks the reader from mid-twentieth-century Detroit to early twenty-first-century Guangdong Province, recounts the author's discovery that the labor question can have many different configurations, especially when some of the most important and characteristic enterprises of our day are the big-box retailers, whose employee rolls and annual revenues now far outrank those of the largest manufacturing companies. It appears that the essence of the twenty-first-century labor question no longer resides at the point of production in a struggle between workers and the owners of the factories in which they labor. Instead, the site of value production is found at every link along a set of global supply chains, in which the manufacturer and the warehouse operator, the ports and the shipping companies, as well as the retailers and their branded vendors jockey for power and profit. In this disaggregated system, legal ownership of the forces of production has been divorced from operational control, making accountability for labor conditions diffuse and knowledge of the actual producers far from transparent.

Keywords:   labor, globalization, Guangdong Province, big-box retailers, global supply chains, accountability, labor conditions

Illinois Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.