Jane Hardy – What Is Happening to International Capital? New Divisions of Labour in Global Capitalism

This contribution will challenge the commonly held assumption that, as part of the globalisation process, there is a shift of capital and employment from the ‘Global North’ to the ‘Global South’. In particular it has been argued that China and other parts of South East Asia are prime examples of new centres of accumulation, which are a magnet to foreign investment at the expense of the employment and jobs of workers in more advanced capitalist economies. It will be suggested that theoretically and empirically this is a static and simplistic view of new divisions of labour in the global economy. An argument will be developed along the following lines. The first proposition is that the mobility in capital, in aggregate, is overstated and that in particular the state continues to play a critical role in influencing the process of accumulation. The second argument explored is that there are contradictions in the process of accumulation that make the movement of capital and jobs neither inevitable nor irreversible. Third, wherever capital settles, there is conflict and it is met with resistance from workers.

Jane Hardy is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. She is Editor-in-Chief of Competition and Change and on the Editorial Board of the International Socialism Journal. Her broad research interests lie in the area of global political economy and she particularly interested in new divisions of labour generated by movements of capital (foreign investment) and labour (migration). Jane has a specific interest in the transformation of post-communist economies in Europe, and Poland in particular. Theoretically, she has been concerned with developing a radical critique of the restructuring of these economies. She is author of Restructuring Krakow: Desperately Seeking Capitalism (with Al Rainnie: Mansell, 1996) and Poland’s New Capitalism (Pluto, 2009).

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