The global value chain concept has become one of the most influential frameworks used in the study of globalization. The paradigm, however, is deficient in explicating the exploitative nature of global value chain governance. Based on a study of soccer ball production in China and Pakistan,
this article analyzes global production from three perspectives: the role of the state in shaping the host countries' mode of production and legal framework, the issue of how surplus value is created and distributed, and the use of child labor or prison labor to remain competitive in the chain.
The article shows, in the case of Pakistan, how a country using a lower-labor-costs strategy to retain a place in a global value chain allows its workers to be exploited and pauperizes its people.