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Valueworks: Effects of Financialization along the Copper Value Chain (Working Paper)

Kesselring, Rita and Leins, Stefan and Schulz, Yvan. (2019) Valueworks: Effects of Financialization along the Copper Value Chain (Working Paper). pp. 1-30. Genf.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/69142/

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Abstract

Based on two years of research in Zambia, Switzerland and China, the interdisciplinary research project Valueworks examined the supply and value chain of one metal, copper, across three countries, Zambia, Switzerland and China. Researchers, NGOs, civil society activists and one international organization aimed to map the actors involved and the "capture of value" along the copper chain linking Zambia to China. Our key interest was the role of Switzerland, host to the world's most important commodity trading hub, and its impact on lifeworlds along the copper value chain. While the social and environmental concerns are already well-researched for mining itself, Valueworks has shown that the service infrastructures of global extraction decisively influence the scope for sustainable development in mineral extractive countries. Mining is embedded into a wider landscape of services - transport, trade, financing, insurance etc. - in which decisions are taken that crucially affect the capacity of countries like Zambia to formulate and enforce policies. This global landscape is shaped by actors who span different countries and are able to move between different regulatory spaces. For all of them, financialization has become a global condition with which they have to deal; at the same time, their actions reproduce and reinforce dynamics of financialization. While the guises and consequences of financialization are manifold, one common thread is the increasing power of capital owners. This power translates into pressure for companies to perform in relation to indices; it changes the relation between 'physical' and 'speculative' trade; it shifts the power balance between workers and managers in collective bargaining agreements; and it further erodes the capacity of both Southern and Northern countries to effectively regulate their markets. While Swiss traders are responsible for a large part of the volumes being traded within the production network for copper, employment by the sector is relatively small. Nevertheless, Swiss traders' structural role in the global economy is huge, due to their influence on transnational trading networks, the pricing of copper and their role in facilitating financialization in globalized trade. This Working Paper offers policy recommendations for Swiss policy makers at regulatory, political, scientific and institutional levels.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Fachbereich Ethnologie > Visuelle und politische Ethnologie (Förster)
UniBasel Contributors:Kesselring, Rita
Item Type:Other
Publisher:Swiss Network for International Studies
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Other publications
Language:English
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Last Modified:13 Jun 2019 15:12
Deposited On:01 Mar 2019 15:21

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