In Europe, as elsewhere in the global North, the label “Made in China” has become synonymous with low wages, excessive overtime, and exploitative working conditions. Conventional literature on the international division of labor reifies the North–South divide in particular with respect to class formation and labor agency. Contrasting the working conditions in China to those in Europe sets these up as opposites in their managerial practices and treatment of the workforce. This article challenges such dualism and makes visible the commonalities of contemporary global capitalism. It does so by examining Foxconn’s production regimes in China and the Czech Republic and identifying a specific set of strategies on the part of the firm that enable its global organization of production. In indicating which practices Foxconn imported from China and which are an outcome of global extended production, the article challenges the Chinese political economy literature that posits the “Chinese model” as warranted when production is globally organized.
Bibliographical noteThe work described in this paper is partially supported by "From China to Europe. Migration and gender in the Global Production Network", Research Grant by the University of Padova (BIRD165471) for field work and partially supported by "Learning to Labor: Social Media and Migrant Labor Protection in Mainland China" (RGC, CRF: Ref No.C5010-15G) for writing.
- Foxconn production regime
- “Chinese model”