Global Rivalries: Standards Wars and the Transnational Cotton Trade

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

As the economies of China, India, and other Asian nations continue to grow, these countries are seeking greater control over the rules that govern international trade. Setting the rules carries with it the power to establish advantage, so it’s no surprise that everyone wants a seat at the table—or that negotiations over rules often result in stalemates at meeting of the World Trade Organization.

Nowhere is the conflict over rule setting more evident than in the simmering “standards wars” over the rules that define quality and enable the adjudication of disputes. In Global Rivalries, Amy A. Quark explores the questions of how rules are made, who makes them, and how they are enforced, using the lens of cotton—a simple commodity that has become a poignant symbol of both the crisis of Western rule making power and the potential for powerful new rivals to supplant it. Quark traces the strategies for influencing rule making processes employed not only by national governments but also by transnational corporations, fiber scientists, and trade associations from around the globe. Quark analyzes the efficacy of their approaches and the implications for more marginal actors in the cotton trade, including producers in West Africa.

By placing the current contest within the historical development of the global capitalist system, Global Rivalries highlights a fascinating interaction of politics and economics.
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About the author

Amy A. Quark is assistant professor of sociology at the College of William and Mary. She lives in Williamsburg, VA.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Aug 5, 2013
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Pages
312
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ISBN
9780226050706
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Exports & Imports
Business & Economics / International / Economics
Political Science / General
Political Science / Globalization
Political Science / International Relations / Trade & Tariffs
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The trade in oil, gas, gems, metals and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa. During the years when Brazil, India, China and the other “emerging markets” have transformed their economies, Africa's resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain. While Africa accounts for about 30 per cent of the world's reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals and 14 per cent of the world's population, its share of global manufacturing stood in 2011 exactly where it stood in 2000: at 1 percent.

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This catastrophic social disintegration is not merely a continuation of Africa's past as a colonial victim. The looting now is accelerating as never before. As global demand for Africa's resources rises, a handful of Africans are becoming legitimately rich but the vast majority, like the continent as a whole, is being fleeced. Outsiders tend to think of Africa as a great drain of philanthropy. But look more closely at the resource industry and the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world looks rather different. In 2010, fuel and mineral exports from Africa were worth 333 billion, more than seven times the value of the aid that went in the opposite direction. But who received the money? For every Frenchwoman who dies in childbirth, 100 die in Niger alone, the former French colony whose uranium fuels France's nuclear reactors. In petro-states like Angola three-quarters of government revenue comes from oil. The government is not funded by the people, and as result it is not beholden to them. A score of African countries whose economies depend on resources are rentier states; their people are largely serfs. The resource curse is not merely some unfortunate economic phenomenon, the product of an intangible force. What is happening in Africa's resource states is systematic looting. Like its victims, its beneficiaries have names.
What drug lords learned from big business

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