New International Division of Labor

Étienne Cantin

In: Encyclopedia of Geography

New International Division of Labor

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  • Capitalist development has always occurred unevenly—spatially, sectorally, and temporally—producing differential degrees of industrialization and varying modes and levels of integration into the world economy. Since the 1970s, however, there has been a widespread recognition that a fundamental transformation (now commonly understood as globalization) is taking place in the conditions of capitalist accumulation and expansion of capital on a world-historical scale. The term new international division of labor (NIDL) was coined by theorists seeking to explain the spatial shift of manufacturing industries from advanced capitalist countries to developing countries—an ongoing geographic reorganization of production, which finds its origins in the formation of the “world market for labor” and “world market for industrial sites” famously analyzed by the German political economists Folker Fröbel, Jürgen Heinrichs, and ...

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