Shifting Governance Structures in Global Commodity Chains, with Special Reference to the Internet

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There are three main drivers of economic globalization in the latter half of the 20th century: investment by transnational corporations, international trade, and the Internet. Whereas producer-driven and buyer-driven commodity chains characterize the phases of investment-based and trade-based globalization, respectively, the emergence of the Internet in the mid-1990s heralds a new age of digital globalization. The explosion in connectivity that is enabled by the Internet has launched an e-commerce revolution that is beginning to transform the structure of business-to-business (B2B) as well as business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions in global industries. New infomediaries that navigate access to rich information and greater reach by businesses and consumers are prominent in B2C digital networks. The Internet's most significant impact to date, however, has been in B2B markets, where e-commerce is reshaping the competitive dynamics and power alignments in traditional producer-driven and buyer-driven commodity chains such as automobiles and apparel.