David Quentin seminar

‘Global inequality chains: integrating the distributional role of the state into analyses of global production’

9 October 2017

David Quentin is a Tax Barrister and Consultant.


David Quentin (and co-author Liam Campling)
The global value chain (GVC) analytic, as currently conceived in the literature on global production, tracks ‘value added’ along commodity chains but does not interrogate where value comes from and where it goes. This tends to deflect narratives that relate to systemic inequalities and the mechanisms by which those inequalities are reproduced. We seek to remedy that defect in two ways. First, we demonstrate that assumptions in GVC analysis about the distribution of value creation along the chain, which are generally adopted to support value chain ‘upgrading’ as a policy prescription, may be unreliable. Second, we combine the analytic with the emerging ‘global wealth chain’ analytic regarding tax outcomes, enabling us to map contestation over value capture between capital, labour and the state along the chain. We call this synthetic analytic the ‘global inequality chain’ (GIC). We illustrate the utility of the GIC by applying it to the topics of global gender inequality and corporate tax reform. In order to construct this analytic it is necessary to have an objective theory of value independent of market-realised prices, and we adopt Marxian value theory for this purpose.