From a wider global angle, the GCC view seeks to understand "the unequal distribution of rewards among the various activities that constitute the single overarching division of labor defining and bounding the world economy." This is a critical approach, grounded in political economy (and neo-Marxist notions), which is rather different from the focus on "global value chains" (GVCs) and "supply chain management" (SCM) that seems to have subsumed much of the initial scholarly energy behind this field. [...]
[...] we argue that a "lengthened" GCC approach (which begins with extraction and focuses on global logistics) offers insight into ways that workers and social movements can exploit choke points to resist the power of capital and states. Indeed, there are well-known historical disruptions that fit our rubric, in particular some famous global coordinated actions by dockworkers in the twentieth century. [...]
cites Giovanni Arrighi and Jessica Drangel, "The stratification of the world economy" (1981)
In order to place labor at the center of our analysis of the world economy, we must first determine just how workers in commodity chains derive their power and assess its potential as leverage for workplace gains. Labor scholars extensively discuss workers' bargaining power, not only in broad terms, but specifically as a result of their structural positions in economic activities. The key question is not only what this sort of "positional power" of workers entails, but how it can translate into concrete gains in the workplace.
Positional power, in Luca Perrone's classic exposition, refers to the "varying amount of 'disruptive potential' endowed on workers by virtue of their different positions in systems of economic interdependencies." Michael Wallace and his colleagues extend this definition by specifying the spatial locations that labour interests might disrupt: their own local workplace, or industries "upstream" or "downstream" in the productive network. In this framework, positional power is thought to be greatest when it has disruptive potential beyond the local context of work.
notes later that pos power doesnt always indicate actual striking tendencies (or success rates), but does predict:
[...] For steel-based GCCs, the scale of investment and operations, capital intensity, and technologies of extraction and processing combine to make these chains vulnerable to upstream disruption by coal and iron ore mining, railroad, port shopping, and steel mill workers. Strong unions emerged in many countries in these industries because of the use of positional power by workers in these networks. For firms in these industries, it has often been cheaper to buy peace with unionized workers than to risk disruption of the massive GCCs, given the high cost and rapidly mounting losses when facilities are left idle by strikes. This concern has motivated extensive efforts by steel firms and their home core states to develop new, less unionized nodes for the chains in coal and iron ore [...] to reduce the risk of disruption, even when it reduces overall efficiency of the GCC by increasing the distances raw materials must be transported, or raises extraction and production costs.
As an industry, logistics plays a crucial role in linking up the systems of global production and consumption, which means the logistics workers are central not just to their own immediate work in distribution, but to these social arenas as well. [...] workers involved in extraction and manufacturing, as well as retail workers, and ultimately consumers, are all embedded in the same containerized manufactured goods commodity chain, and are subject to various mechanisms of exploitation at the hands of the capitalist interests controlling this commodity chain. Because of this, logistics workers might have a crucial role in interfacing with these broad categories of social actors and uniting with them in focused struggles against capital. [...]