Research on the Effects of Labor Relations under the Modularity Division of Labor

Fengyi Liu, Wen Shang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modular production organization, as a new kind of capitalist production mode, has an
important influence on labor relations. With the application of Marxian economics’ “technologysystem”
framework and the analysis of features of modular technology, this article argues that new
changes come out in labor relations along with the division of network hierarchy resulting from
modularity, mainly reflected in that enterprises and countries without the ability to lead industry
upgrading only serve as the bottom of the suppliers to participate in the modular production
network organization. The bottom of the suppliers, relying on their cheap labor resources to earn
meager incomes, is being controlled by big capital. The division of labor within the industry and the
stratification of suppliers as a result of modularity strengthen the leadership and control status
of big capital. Besides, modularity provides a convenience for the capital to control production
materials and labor resources of a global scope. Finally, this article puts forward some measures
to get rid of capital’s control in the modular era.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalWorld Review of Political Economy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • modularity
  • capital control
  • supplier layered
  • labor differentiation


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