The Deadly Life of Logistics Book Review


According to Beverly Silver, the social order in the 21st century will still rely on the working class for it to shape up. Silver reviews the structure and order of capital and labor as it was in the 19th century which is a guide in predicting the how the future trends might shape up. She lays more emphasis on the activities of the working class and the fluctuating occurrences in the rise and decline of the labor unrest that has affected different locations and industries. Beverly recognizes that the current struggle in the working class is as a result of the outward trajectory in labor.

Deborah Cowen in her book The Deadly Life of Logistics reviews the changes in business management logistics that taken place as a result of a revolution. There are distinct moments that occurred which shaped up the science of logistics. World-system theory is a macro-sociological perspective which aims at explaining the dynamics involved in the capital world economy. This concept, asexplored by Wallerstein, believes in the existence of an objective world which can be quantitatively understood, his study is, however, based on historical occurrences and interpretive sociology.


Sociological Strategies

Labor and Capital forces

Forces of Labor, a book written by Beverly Silver gives a clear illustration concerning the struggles through which the working category of citizens undergo which is perceived to continue and that it will be important in shaping the social order of the 21st century. The fundamental cause oflabor conflicts is the contradictions which exist in the capital mode of production. There are two forms of unrest which occur; the first one is the Marxian struggles and the Polanyian struggles. The Marxian struggles constitutes of workers demand for a greater profit share and to have control over the process of work. Polanyian struggle on the other hand,entails a fight aimed at preventing the spread of self-regulating market and the subjection that they have over the market forces.

Both the Marxian and Polanyian struggles result to different outcomes. The first onecreates a dialect between the resistance of the workers and the capital forces which aim at overcoming the resistance though revolutionizing aspects of production and social relations. The second struggle leads to alterations in the aspects of social embedding and disembedding of the market forces.

The bargaining power of workers in an institution or government setup is categorized into two forms; these include the associational power and the structural power. The association power entails workers of given institutions or sectors of the government creating unionssuch as the trade union and parties. Structural power has got different subtypes; they include the marketplace bargaining power which is as result of the tight labor markets and or low levels of unemployment, workplace bargaining power on the other hand,entail formation of particular groups of workers in an organization or involved in the production process. The reason for these movements is to foster unity and strengthen their influence in the quest of fulfilling their demand.

Labor movements that aim at increasing workers power can either be inclusive hence, comprising of particular groups or exclusive thus, involving other social groups. These unions may either work to the advantage of the workers by strengthening their bargaining power or against them by weakening it. The automobile is an example of an industry that has gone through labor unrest both in the 19th century to the 21st century. In comparison with the earlier textile industries, there is a similarity between workers militancy and, an increase in the rates of labor unrest. The textile industry, however, did not have a centralized and vertically integrated system which made it hard for them to push on capital reforms as a result or a small workplace bargaining power. The workers, therefore, had to rely on alliances with other social for them to have a bigger associational power.

In the 21st century, workers remain the center for capital accumulation due to their networking function which enables them to have a stronger bargaining power. Industries that have a significant job growth face more working-class formation and protests.

A financial fix is a capital strategy where capital withdraws money from the production sector and invests it in themarket; this is an aspect that used to be practiced in the history of capitalism and is currently recurrent. It is, however, not justifiable to try and use the quantitative aspect of labor in achieving the qualitative representation of the struggles.

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View on Logistics

In a logistic perspective, there is a simple supply chain where production, distribution, and consumption do not have an independent operation, but they all affect each other in realizing value through operating at the supply chain level as a whole. For supply chain of a given industry to be able to add value, there is need to have a seamless flow which is possible theoretically but faces various threats.

In a supply chain, labor can either be a component of achieving organizational goals or a threat of interruption as a result of labor actions. The efficiency of a supply chain relies on the laboroutput;the transformation of labor into production is done through body movement in the factory. Various threats affect the supply chain, labor action being a major factor.

Logistics has got great influence when it comes to war and trade, aspects such as politics and military operations have also contributed to business operations. Private companies have adopted the military system by using logistics in reshaping the geography of capital production and distribution on a global scale. As a result of the logistical production of space, the political right of citizens is reduced including the collective bargaining rights of workers. Supply chain, therefore, does not only have to aim at having proper circulation and accumulation of capital but also provide a ground where every average person can be able to conduct their activities.

The desire for efficiency should not be about increasing the productivity of a process but rather be about questioning whether the right procedure is used in achieving a given goal. The working desire at work should, therefore, understand it in a logistical process.

System theory

The world system theory relates back to the economic history and the historical sociology. This concept emphasizes on equality of opportunitiesamong different nations. It is a social system which has got boundaries, structures and member groups where various groups try to seek a competitive advantage for themselves. Wallerstein in his theory about the world system relates this system to a global economy which is more integrated towards the market structure rather than the political center. He states that two or more regions are interdependent on food, fuel, and security.

Despite being independent, world-system is fundamental in the division of labor and the exchange of goods and raw materials to sustain the life of its inhabitants. The division of labor entails the forces and relations that facilitate production hence sustaining world economy; this relationship leads to the existence of interdependent regions that include core and periphery. These two sections tend to be geographically and structurally different where one focuses on labor-intensive while the other is more about capital intensive production.

Power hierarchy between core and periphery exists in the current world-system. Core regions represent the powerful and wealthy part of the society which dominates and exploits the weak and poor found in the peripheral category. Technology can be used as a factor for placing regions either in the core or periphery category. With regards to this, the courtiers that have advanced in technology and infrastructure are categorized among the core while the less developed regions represent the less established.

Unequal exchange in the system theory is when the differential strength among states is used by developing countries to reinforce and increase a differential flow of surplus to the core regions. Such exchange leads to capital accumulation at a global level which is used based on the appropriation and transformation of the excess peripheral goods. Nation-states in the system theory are both elements and variables. According to Wallerstein, the class force uses states and nations to pursuetheir interest in the core countries. When a weak peripheral region is dominated by a strong core state, such an aspect is termed as imperialism. On the other hand, hegemony is where there exists one stable state which tends to outplay the rest by maintaining a balance of power and enforcing free trade which works to their advantage.


The current determinants of labor capital and an interrelationship between labor and capital relate to the structural arrangement of various organizations. The aspect of labor has a direct influence on capital and productivity on an organization or state. Any interference with the continuous flow of labor reduces the productivity of an institution. Over the years labor groups and unions have grown stronger on the representation and the influence they have concerning issues affecting them in the work environment. Similar challenges of social unrest and protests among workers that occurred in the 19th century are bound to be faced in the 21stcentury andeven escalate. The solution to preventing such form of conflict lies on a mutual negotiation between the employers and the employees and not in trying to weaken or suppress such unions. If workers find a better means of expressing their plight, it will help reduce the unnecessary unrest and protest which is basically in conjunction with the issue of capital.

There is also the need for a fair balance of trade between the core and peripheral regions. Despite the disparities that exist, a balance in business transactions ensures that each group gets their fair share price in the market and this leads to the growth and development of both regions by eliminating unhealthy competition which aims at benefiting the core at the expense of the peripheral.

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