Labor and global commodities: Introduction

Mae Ngai, Mary Nolan

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Conventionally defined, global commodities refer to raw materials and basic foodstuffs-sugar, bananas, cotton, coal, bauxite-that are extracted or grown in one area of the world and sold on the world market for industrial or consumer use elsewhere. Labor historians focusing on the point of extraction/production or tracking the production and circulation of specific global commodities have gained insight into the development of global capitalism, in particular relations between colonized and colonizer, developing countries and advanced industrial countries. From Sidney Mintz's Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (1986) to Mark Kurlansky's Cod: The Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (1998) scholars and general readers alike have found in studies of a single commodity a productive method for understanding social relations in the making of the modern world.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)4-7
    Number of pages4
    JournalInternational Labor and Working-Class History
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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