Extractive Processes, Global Production Networks and Inequalities
Isabella Radhuber – 2015
In the context of an increasing economic integration and the rising importance of the Global South regarding global trade and companies, scholarly debates that try to grasp the shape of this increasingly integrated global economy addressed global production networks. They have mostly focused on manufacturing and agricultural activities and to a lesser extent on services, whereas analysis on traditional extractive activities has been incorporated only recently. In this paper, I focus on the relevance of extractive processes for global production networks in a broader sense. I argue that these matter not only in terms of traditional extractive activities such as mining and hydrocarbons. Extractive processes matter for all production networks, because they all depend upon the extractive capture of nature. This focus points to struggles around nature appropriation, the co-constitution of social relations and the “natural” environment and processes of valuation. I then specifically sketch how inequalities in extractive production networks can be traced in terms of unequal labor division and power relations (specifically the hegemonic stability of production networks). Combining global production network analysis, regulation theory and extractivism analysis can furthermore reveal how these inequalities unfold in specific political economic contexts and across scales.