The Research Potential of Bloomberg Supply Chain Data for a New Era of Geo-Political Rivalries
“Globalisation is over”–or so it might seem as the United States and its allies are carrying out unprecedented measures in order to divert critical supplies and advanced technology from geopolitical rivals and their firms, most notably Russia and China. Critics warn that this new Cold War could halt, or even reverse, three decades of trade liberalisation and market integration. But without a clear sense of the transnational production networks that connect corporations across the emerging East-West divide, the nature and future of this seismic shift is difficult to assess, let alone steer in progressive directions.
Supported by Sussex's Research Opportunity Fund Mapping (De)Globalisation brings together researchers from Sussex University and King’s College London in order to close this gap. Led by Joseph Baines, Julian Germann, Steve Rolf, and Sean Kenji Starrs, our team explores the potential of Bloomberg Professional for analysing the changing geography of transnational production amidst growing geopolitical competition. By drawing on a newly revised and expanded supply-chain dataset (SPLC), we are able to map the linkages between the world’s leading firms and their principal suppliers and customers in virtually any sector–including those targeted by extraordinary new sanctions, subsidies, export bans, and investment screens. Marshaling this original data allows us to track with improved precision whether transnational supply chains are being brought back home (“re-shored”), moved to allies (“friend-shored”) or regional neighbours (“near-shored”), or remain relatively unchanged.
In this way, our project brings empirical and conceptual clarity to the so far inconclusive debate over the future shape of global capitalism, as powerful states increasingly invoke “national security” to intervene in business decisions of where to produce, buy, or sell.
Even in corporate boardrooms and cabinet meetings, too little is known about where supply-chain vulnerabilities exist, despite governments taking increasingly decisive actions to weaponise or neutralise them. This project aims to make such critical insight into supply-chain (inter)dependencies and the emerging forms and consequences of supply-chain statecraft available to a wider public. Going forward, we plan to work with data visualisation developers in order to create accessible and interactive graphics of our research on our new website, mappingdeglobalization.net.