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Gender and Glo bal Capitalism: World Market Factories and Plantations. International Perspectives on Gender Week 19. Structure of lecture. Introduction The Old International Division of Labour The New International Division of Labour Free Trade Zones & Export Processing Zones

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gender and glo bal capitalism world market factories and plantations

Gender and Global Capitalism: World Market Factories and Plantations

International Perspectives on Gender

Week 19

structure of lecture
Structure of lecture
  • Introduction
  • The Old International Division of Labour
  • The New International Division of Labour
  • Free Trade Zones & Export Processing Zones
  • Chittagong Export Development Zone
  • The story of a shirt
  • Video: Industrialization in Malaysia
old international division of labour
Old International Division of Labour
  • Raw materials, cheap labour and secure markets flow from colonies to colonizer and capital and manufactured goods flow back the other way
  • Colonies get monopsonistic terms for their raw materials
  • Not a negotiated division of labour, typically backed up by colonizer state power
  • National capital carved up the world in the age of empire
  • Relatively small number of countries in north extracted ‘surplus value’ from majority of countries in south
the case for imperialism
The ‘Case’ for Imperialism

‘It is not necessary that the older civilised countries should build up manufacturing rivals in the undeveloped countries. They will undoubtedly do this to some extent but the logical path to be pursued is that of the development of the natural riches of the tropical countries. These countries are now peopled by races incapable on their own initiative of extracting its full riches from the own soil.... What is involved... (for the present) is not a revolution in the habits and capacities of the peoples of the tropics, but only their equipment with the best means of rendering their territory productive. This will be attained in some cases by the mere stimulus of government and direction by men of the temperate zones; but it will be attained also by the application of modern machinery and methods of culture to the agricultural and mineral resources of the undeveloped countries’.

Source: The United States Investor 1901, cited in Kofi BuenorHadjor (1992) The Penguin Dictionary of Third World Terms, London: Penguin

new international division of labour
New International Division of Labour
  • Follows decolonization
  • Import Substitution Industrialisation (ISI)
    • Concentration by former colonies on the manufacture of goods previously imported, in order to reduce dependence on imports. Predominantly 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s
    • Focus on heavy industry (mining, steel production, ship-building)
    • Forexand technological difficulties, also opposed by US as seen as socialist/communist
    • Privileged male labour, excluding women: production shifted from cottage industry to factory, hard for women to combine productive and reproductive work
    • male labour preferred as better educated and seen as more suitable

Export Oriented Industrialisation (EOI)

    • Production for export. From late 1970s onwards. Relocation of multinationals
    • First textiles and clothing, then electricals and electronics, then IT industries
    • Backed up by US, IMF, World Bank. Global north provides the capital, global south the labour
    • Incentives provided to multinationals: eg factory sites and services for low rent, tax breaks, labour subsidies, freedom from labour legislation, easy repatriation of profits
    • EOI is based on employment of women
    • Minority of men in technical /supervisory/ managerial roles
ftzs and epzs
FTZs and EPZs
  • Free Trade Zones - designated area to and from which unrestricted trade is allowed with rest of world
  • Export Processing Zones- a variant which provides buildings, services and other incentives for foreign firms
  • Countries which have industrialized through EOI are known as NICs - Newly Industrializing Countries:

Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan

Thailand, Malaysia, China, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, South Africa, inter alia.

Burma, Vietnam, Bangladesh

  • First NICs now driving EOI in later entrants, eg. Korean firms now investing in manufacturing in Bangladesh
chittagong export development zone bangladesh
Chittagong Export Development Zone, Bangladesh
  • Capital of globalisation: 137 factories exporting goods worth $1.6bn a year
  • Nike, Wrangler, North Face, Timberland, Raleigh, Philip Morris, Walmart, Mothercare, Tesco, Reebok brands
  • In one factory 3500 workers make 14000 pairs of shoes a day, 5 million a year
  • Claims to have cheapest labour in world:
    • $250/month minimum wage in EPZs in China
    • $125 in Indonesia
    • $80 in Pakistan
    • $48 in Chittagong, $1.50 per day, apprentices earn less
  • No Unions allowed
  • Source: Guardian, 30 April 2012
the story of a shirt
The Story of a Shirt
  • An imaginary but typical story
  • Designed in UK with aid of computer technology (male and female skilled work)
  • Design e-mailed to contractor in Hong Kong
  • Contractor orders cloth from mainland China
  • Cloth is cut in Hong Kong (skilled generally male work)
  • Cloth sent to sub-contractor in Bangladesh where sewn (part factory, part home-work, female, unskilled)
  • Returned to UK where ironed, packed (female, often homeworking, unskilled work) and sent to retailer
  • Combination of factory working and home-working, formal and informal
  • What do we know of this story if we buy the shirt?
nidl is dynamic process
NIDL is Dynamic Process
  • Coates Viyella: on an 80 year quest for cheap labour (retails as Jaeger clothing). Production shifted from UK to Hong Kong and now to Hungary, Poland and China
  • Safa: ‘Runaway Shops’, footloose
  • Microsoft Xbox – first manufactured in Hungary and Mexico, then China, now also Brazil
  • Apple iPad – assembled in China: 7 day weeks; 16 hours a day; swollen legs; loss of use of hands; neurological damage; suicides; low wages (New York times, January 25 2012)
  • Mainly female, migrant workers
  • Foxconn Technology Group, Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturing company: BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Kindle, Xbox, Playstation, Wii
video industrialisation in malaysia
Video: Industrialisation in Malaysia

1. What has industrialisation achieved in Malaysia? What problems has it brought?

2. How is industrial employment in Malaysia gendered?

3. How has incorporation into industrial work in Malaysia changed women’s lives?

Has ithad a positive or a negative effect?

4. How is female labour disciplined in Malaysia and what strategies are used by companies to increase productivity?

Source: The Open University (1991) ‘ Industrialisation in Malaysia’, The Developing WorldVideos, Milton Keynes: The Open University