This symposium uses the Marxist-inflected theory of globalization known as world-systems theory to view some familiar topics through a fresh lens, although it is often blurred by jargon. Subjects addressed include how China's engagement with global capitalism has contributed to the rise of far-flung production networks, the shift of manufacturing to the East, the growing Asian resource hunger, and new geopolitical rivalries. Richard Appelbaum argues that the market power of mega-retailers, such as Wal-Mart, is counterbalanced by less well-known but similarly gigantic suppliers owned by enterprises from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea that command integrated production facilities. Stephanie Luce and Edna Bonacich explore nascent opportunities for the U.S. labor movement to cooperate with Chinese workers instead of treating them exclusively as competitors. And Beverly Silver and Lu Zhang suggest, with more hope than evidence, that labor unrest in China might invigorate the labor movement worldwide.
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