Foxconned: Great-Power Politics is a "Capitalist Peace” Mutation
The Chinese state is investigating Foxconn (specifically two Foxconn sites, in Guangdong and Jiangsu, under vagaries of regulatory and tax compliance).
It’s getting a decent amount of coverage for the obvious reason that it’s a Taiwanese company at a time when China-Taiwan tensions are high. It also does a lot of its business in mainland China. Foxconn is the world’s largest electronics manufacturing firm ($222 billion USD revenue last year alone), and most of that manufacturing is done in China.
But what’s distinct about this situation analytically—and for policy purposes—is that Foxconn is both an extremely powerful agent of the so-called “capitalist peace” and a feckless pawn in great-power games that agitate against the preservation of peace.
That contradiction suggests a much, much bigger story than what WaPo or FT are reporting: Conditions of declining global demand and/or declining profitability not only undermine capitalist-peace assumptions—they reveal that the “great game”
bullshit romanticism of national-security states everywhere is a continuation of the power-political foundations of the capitalist peace.
Put simply, to think of Foxconn as being at the center of capitalist peace vs. power politics is far from the whole story.
Foxconn is at the center of the process mutating the capitalist peace into a power politics whose violence encompasses not just individuals, societies, and workers but also nation-states again. Power politics and its violence was always there, but the capitalist peace narrative elided who was paying a price for it.
Only by misunderstanding all this can political elites enlist the rest of us in nationalist projects of political exclusion, worker repression, and war-making.
Let me explain.