Global Commodity Networks and the Leather Footwear Industry: Emerging Forms of Economic Organization in a Postmodern World

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This paper argues that an examination of global commodity networks (GCNs) is a useful way to capture emerging forms of economic organization in the global economy. GCNs are the transnational chains of economic enterprises involved at different stages in the production and consumption of a single commodity. The utility of examining GCNs is illustrated by investigating the roles of Argentine leather production, Brazilian shoe manufacturing, and American footwear consumption in shaping a leather-footwear GCN. The investigation finds both national and international variables important in the construction and operation of this GCN. The domestic political economy of Argentina and Brazil are important in shaping their respective roles of leather sourcing and shoe manufacturing, while postmodern consumption patterns in the United States are instrumental in driving the GCN.