Over 90 per cent of the goods we use – from our smartphones to the fuel in our cars – are transported by ships. The cargo shipping industry is the most globalised industry in the world, yet we know very little about the context in which these ships operate or the ways in which seafaring labour is organised. Drawing on evidence from South Africa and the Philippines, Waves of Change provides an account of globalisation, seafaring labour markets and the state that allows us to understand how processes of globalisation unfold in this industry. The author shows that globalisation does not always mean a 'race to the bottom' for workers: labour solidarity and interventionist states shape globalisation as much as ship owners do.† Scholars, policy makers, students and those with a general interest in globalisation and labour will find Waves of Change a revelatory account of an industry about which little is generally known.
'Waves of Change highlights the complex, often poorly understood world of the global shipping industry and the seafarers who carry more than 90% of the world's trade by volume.† As one of the oldest global industries, the book challenges the simplistic capitalistic and neoclassical ideals that subsequently argue for nation states to leave the commercial fate of any domestic shipping industry to global market forces. Instead the author asks many critical questions. Most profound being if nations rely on shipping so heavily and global markets are so turbulent and equilibrium so elusive, why have so many governments abandoned shipping industry reform? This impressive book challenges us to ask why nations are passively ignoring the social and economic benefits derived from a properly regulated, competitive shipping industry manned by seafarers who are not only competent, but recognised for their contribution to a nation's success.'
Dr Marcus Bowles
Director of the Institute for Working Futures and Professor at the Australian Maritime College,
University of Tasmania
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About the Authors
Dr Wilmot James is Honorary Professor in the Division of Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1982) and is the author or editor of 13 books. Dr James was formerly an Executive Director of the Human Sciences Research Council, a Dean of Humanities of the University of Cape Town, Executive Director of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) and Professor of Sociology at the University of Cape Town. He has held visiting positions at Yale University, Indiana University, American Bar Foundation and, as an Associate Editor, the Cape Argus. He most recently was Moore Distinguished Visiting Professor of History and Sociology at California Institute of Technology.
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