Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production

Edited by Kees van der Pijl

This Handbook provides a state-of-the-art overview of the changing world of global production. Chapters cover the geography of why and where jobs are moving in both manufacturing and services. The authors discuss topics relating to the human and natural basis on which production rests, from the consequences of exploitation and marginalization on body and mind, to sex work, biotechnology, and the prospects for ecological re-balancing. This Handbook will appeal to academics at all levels interested in political economy, international studies and politics, as well as trade unionists and NGO activists.
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Chapter 5: Apple’s iPad City: subcontracting exploitation to China

Jenny Chan, Pun Ngai and Mark Selden


Many image-conscious technology companies, probably none more than Apple in our digital age, have professed ideals of corporate citizenship, environmental, labour and social responsibility in their supplier codes of conduct. This is in part a response to the growing anti-sweatshop movement in the electronics industry from within the United States, Europe, and more recently Greater China (Smith et al. 2006; Litzinger 2013). Violations of factory workers’ fundamental rights in export-oriented industry nevertheless remain intractable, prompting scholars and practitioners in corporate responsibility to promote the leverage of private and public power to create ‘just supply chains’ (Locke 2013; Mayer and Gereffi 2010; Boston Review 2013). The main effort of public–private partnerships is to call on a shared commitment of the national governments, transnational corporations and non-governmental labour organizations to better protect workers.

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