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
Chapter 1: Prologue
Chapter 2: Rupture! Capitalism and labour markets
Chapter 3: Making sense of the puzzle of seafaring labour markets
Chapter 4: Waves of restructuring
Chapter 5: Producing labour markets: The role of organised labour
Chapter 6: The role of state institutions in shaping the labour market for seafarers
Chapter 7: The Kraken released: Reflections on global capital, labour and the state
About the author