Financialization across the Pacific: Manufacturing cost ratios, supply chains and power

Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, Adam Leaver, Karel Williams

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This article argues that thirty years ago favourable cost conditions helped build productive power in Asia, whereas now US financial power drives and benefits from low labour costs in China, using the very different supply chain positions of Apple Inc. and Foxconn International Holdings (FIH) as examples. In the first section, the authors bring together the literatures on financialization and global supply chains to contextualise the pressures and outcomes discussed. A temporal dimension is added in section 2, using macro evidence on labour costs to compare new entrants into the industrial world order since the 1970s. The article then presents company illustrations in sections 3 and 4, deconstructing Apple's financial success and its trans-Pacific relations with its handset supplier FIH. The article concludes by observing that the rise of the post-national corporate player changes the alignment between large corporate interests and the US economy where Apple hoards its cash surplus and the success for the stockholders does not align with the broader needs of the US economy and society. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-57
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number1
Early online date17 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Apple Inc.
  • Business model
  • Financialization
  • Foxconn International Holdings
  • Trans-Pacific supply chains


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