Lunch will be provided.
The Program on Law and Political Economy and the Center for Labor and a Just Economy are excited to present the semester-long series, Supply Chain Capitalism: Legal Regimes and Worker Power. The series will investigate law’s role in structuring global supply chains. Across four installments, we will examine how contemporary modes of supply, production, and capital ownership – or Supply Chain Capitalism – impact the distribution of power and resources between the global north and the global south and between capital and labor. We will pay particular attention to law’s role in enabling, sustaining or, potentially disrupting these distributive and relational patterns.
All are welcome! For those who plan to join via the livestream, Zoom links will be available on this page: https://lpe.law.harvard.edu/events/supply-chain-capitalism/ at least 24 hours before each session. Please see further event details below.
Global Trade as Worker Power
Desiree LeClercq, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Labor law gradually protects fewer of the world’s workers. Changes in work and capital structure, new technologies and evolving modes of supply and production (together, ‘supply chain capitalism’), lead to an incongruence between the distribution of market power and the premises and tools of labor law, creating barriers to workers’ organization and agency. This incongruence stems from the fact that labor law developed in industrial economies to respond to the power disparities between capital and labor, and is therefore tied to a dyadic employer-employee paradigm in which labor law seeks to empower workers vis-à-vis employers, the presumed owners of capital. Yet this is no longer the case in the era of supply chain capitalism, where the direct employer is often a supplier in a Global Value Chain (GVC), whose economic calculus is dependent on corporations in higher tiers of the chain. Given the crises of both labor law and GVC governance, the talk will chart a trajectory to restructure labor law and labor institutions to counter the power structures of supply chain capitalism.