Private Governance, Hegemonic Struggles, and Institutional Outcomes in the Transnational Cotton Commodity Chain
AbstractTransnational firms have rolled out new forms of private governance at the same time as the rise of new economic powerhouses like China has fomented growing inter-state tensions. This points to critical questions: how does inter-state competition shape private governance of transnational commodity chains and how does private governance shape inter-state rivalries? I explore these questions by tracing the construction and dissolution of sectoral hegemonic coalitions that govern commodity chains. Drawing on the case of cotton quality governance from 2000-2012, I argue that a coalition of the U.S. state and transnational merchants has reconstituted its sectoral hegemony to allow expanded accumulation and accommodate their main rival~China. The U.S. state created standards with Chinese characteristics, while transnational merchants made the authority structure of their institutions more inclusive. However, this reconstituted hegemony remains unstable. Facing continued regulatory competition from China, the U.S. state has constructed new forms of meta-governance that could facilitate a shift to Chinese-led sectoral hegemony but under U.S. oversight. Moreover, these sectoral hegemonic struggles compelled Western transnational merchants to fracture their long-standing relationship with the U.S. state in the hegemonic coalition in order to position their private institutions as geopolitically neutral and thus compatible with the hegemonic leadership of either the U.S. or Chinese states in the sector. By tracing struggles among coalitions of leading firms and states for hegemony over the institutions governing particular commodity chain sectors, we can shed light on possible trajectories within broader world-system level hegemonic struggles that at once constitute and are constituted by these sectoral dynamics.
Copyright (c) 2015 Amy Quark
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.