Rethinking the Notion of 'Value' in Global Value Chains Analysis: A Decolonial Political Economy Perspective
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Competition and Change: the journal of global political economy
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This article critically examines how the concept of value has been understood in Global Value Chains (GVC) analysis. In particular, it is argued that the GVC literature has largely overlooked the political and contested nature of the concept by relying on conventional understandings of value borrowed from mainstream Economics and Business Studies. This article reconsiders the notion of value and its role within GVC analysis using insights offered by decolonial and critical authors. It argues that value should be understood not only as narrow pecuniary gains but also as a broader philosophical question regarding the justice and purpose of productive activity. It proposes the new concept of 'voice upgrade' as a tool to appreciate the extent to which different formal and informal institutional settings in global value chains allow for democratic negotiations about value.