Economy and Society. August, 37(3)

An E+S special issue devoted to GVC governance (global value chains to you and me). As Gibbon & co. explain, that means we're talking about the organisation of global business (how things get done... decisions made... networks managed...). This is all fairly tough fare.

Bair opens by disentangling various network theories (not epistemologies) employed in global economic analyses. They all start with G. Our star - GVC - seems to be the outlier. This can serve as something of an introduction.

Gibbon & Ponte focus in on expert knowledge's (trade journals and such) role in manufacturing supply-chains. The (US) purchasers' discipline is observed via governmentality. The finding: expert theories and tools were rarely implemented - and then with little success - raising questions about the importance and efficacy of Foucault-friendly administrative techniques.

Suppliers and workers at the bottom (women in poor countries for instance) are being let down by current commodity chain governance (and its analysis). Palpacuer traces the real-world shift (financialization), and suggests bringing more broad institutional and political elements back into the analytic mix.

Milberg talks financialization again, linking it to offshoring (US-China). The sustainability of upping shareholder pay-outs by squeezing ever more distributed supply networks is addressed (thank the loop of China-held US shares). As for the future...

Hess closes things up by going meta: Have networks become a clumsy catch-all metaphor? (Perhaps, but not for us). And how to deal with power? (There's three ways. We'll work something out.)