Global Supply Chains

We should take liberties with Raymond Williams book Keywords. It was never meant to be definitive, a list of all possibilities. It was a methodology. How to take a word and look at the social relations which help to form and define it and how meaning changes over time.

According to The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1956 edition):

Chain: 1. A connected series of links (usually of metal) passing through each other, or otherwise jointed together, so as to form a strong but flexible ligament or string
2. As employed to restrain or fetter; hence a bond or a fetter….imprisonment, captivity.

Chain: 1. To bind, fasten, secure with a chain. 2. To fetter or confine with a chain or chains; to put in chains.

Chain-gang a gang of convicts chained together while at work, etc

Chain can bring together, create united strength, or chain can oppress, enslave, control. Hence tension, conflict, opposition.

The social and technical conditions for revolution.

The vehicle carrier Hawaiin Highway sailing from Bremerhaven to Southampton

The vehicle carrier Shelde Highway sailing from Zeebrugge to Dublin.

The bulk carrier Western Paris sailing from St Petersburg to Damietta.

A great deal of work is wrongly classified as ‘unskilled’.

Global Supply Chains are predicated on immense numbers of skilled and trained workers who are organised to do the bidding of the owners of ships, the owners of lorries, the owners of factories and ports.

But what if the workers organised themselves to do their own bidding? Global supply chains could be organised much more effectively, without waste and without the terrible damage which is inflicted on a daily basis to the planet earth.

And in the process the keyword ‘chain’ would change in meaning. To be a unity in production, not a means to enslave.

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