Locating the Canadian Border(s) in Global Mineral and Metal Production Networks
Julia Calvert | BIG Research Reports | #87
The structure of international trade has undergone profound shifts in recent decades. Advances in communication and transportation combined with the liberalization of trade and capital flows has made it more profitable for companies to outsource large portions of their manufacturing and service activities abroad. The vertically-integrated and geographically concentrated production structures dominant during the Fordist era have therefore largely been replaced by fragmented and dispersed forms of production. Such forms have been alternatively labelled as global commodity chains, global value chains and global production networks. The growing mobility of capital, goods and services has raised concerns over the power and predatory practices of transnational corporations (TNCs). TNC, critics argue, are free to capitalize on favourable regulatory conditions in almost any country; they simply need to move or subcontract through a firm located in that jurisdiction. This in turn reduces the bargaining power of labour and governments while complicating efforts to govern corporate activities (Feenstra 1998). From this view both states and state borders are porous and ineffective in a global economy where TNCs dominate as economic intermediaries.