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Digital DepressionInformation Technology and Economic Crisis$
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Dan Schiller

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038761

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038761.001.0001

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Networked Production and Reconstructed Commodity Chains

Networked Production and Reconstructed Commodity Chains

(p.27) Chapter 2 Networked Production and Reconstructed Commodity Chains
Digital Depression

Dan Schiller

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how networks led to the spatial restructuring of commodity chains during the 1970s. It shows how renewed intercapitalist competition, as Japan and Germany were rebuilt, as well as fluctuations in exchange rates and national policies—adopted to appease strong industrial working classes and to protect domestic capital—fed a new phase of capitalist globalization. In turn, capitalist globalization forged a variety of new links in commodity chains and radical changes in production and trade. The chapter also considers how the information and communications technology (ICT) industry helped pioneer the trend to parcelized production systems, intracorporate trade, and exports back to the wealthiest markets. Finally, it looks at the case of the automobile industry to illustrate how digital technology was repeatedly absorbed by the manufacturing industry and to connect capitalist globalization to a planetary recomposition of the wage-earning class. It argues that network-enabled reorganization of production systems and of the labor process contributed to chronic wage repression.

Keywords:   networks, commodity chains, capitalist globalization, trade, information technology, automobile industry, wage-earning class, production systems, labor, wage repression

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