Unequal exchange ? the dirty little secret in commodity chain research
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
European Social Science History conference ESSHC 2014
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
The concept of unequal exchange has a long history with heated controversies. Starting with the trade-based Prebisch-Singer framework, the paper examines the arguments of the main theoretical approaches in this field of thinking, namely the Greek-French economist Arghiri Emanuel, representatives of the dependency school and of world systems analysis. In their considerations, Prebisch and Singer addressed an international division of labor in which manufactured goods are exported from the global North while the global South specializes in primary products. Later approaches recognize that modern production takes place in the global South and that they became exporters of manufactured goods, in most cases under the aegis of multinational firms. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether the unequal exchange tradition applies to the globalization era, in which trade in intermediate goods has significantly risen and production is organized within border-crossing networks. In a second step, the paper therefore links the earlier unequal exchange theories with the research paradigm of global commodity chains. The GCC approach focuses on value production and capturing at different nodes of a global commodity chain. The aim of the paper is to clarify the strengths and deficits of the different approaches. Building on this, a broad outline of parameters is presented which seem essential in the study of the distributive dynamics of current globalization.