Global Supply Chain Literature vs. extractivism

De Gruyter

This essay is part of Re-mapping World Literature: Writing, Book Markets and Epistemologies between Latin America and the Global South / Escrituras, mercados y epistemologías entre América Latina y el Sur Global (eds. Benjamin Loy and Jorge Locane, De Gruyter 2017)

My purpose in this brief essay is to formulate the rudiments of a corpus that works against the accumulation of surplus value in supply chains. Increasingly sophisticated – read: exploitative – contemporary supply chains crisscross several continents with exacting precision. While upper management has a perspicuous view of supply chains, views from the ground are partial at best. Indeed, something that allows capitalists to extract hyperbolic margins from unsuspecting producers and consumers is their exploitees’ lack of awareness of the scripted paths from raw material to purchased product, where the chain ends, and of its continuation, often unwieldly, from use to waste. I hold no illusion that piecing together stories about traveling goods and their afterlives will spark worldwide revolution. But I do find it salutary, in today’s largely post-political world literature criticism, to engage with stuff – literally.