Is the labour question the same in the global north as it is in the global south?

Kerswell, Timothy J. (2006) Is the labour question the same in the global north as it is in the global south? In Hall, Carly & Hopkinson, Chanel (Eds.) Social Change in the 21st Century 2006, 27th October 2006, QUT Carseldine, Brisbane.


Over the last two to three decades, a number of countries in the Global South have become the dominant source of a range of manufactures especially clothing and textiles, footwear, toys and domestic white-goods. Simultaneously, the liberalization of trade and investment, has effectively added 2 billion to the world labour supply principally in China, Russia and Eastern Europe and Brazil and Argentina. The sheer scale of these changes is bringing workers in different countries into more intense competition with each other with little doubt existing that global employers and investors are able to play-off national work-forces and national labour unions against each other. Not since Arghiri Emmanuel’s work on unequal exchange has there been a theory that tried to explain differences between North and South country workers in terms of the global North exploiting the global South. In view of the continued polarization of income between North and South it makes sense to re-examine Emmanuel and ask whether the labour question is the same in the global North and the global South. This will be done through an analysis of various labour markets and political actors in the North and the South. The answer to this question has far reaching ramifications for the ability of workers to act collectively in response to a capital that is more mobile than ever. It will also give an indication as to where the challenges to capital will come from in the immediate future.

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ID Code: 6430
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Third World, Labour, Unions, Imperialism, Unequal Exchange
ISBN: 1741071291
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Public Economics- Public Choice (140213)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Timothy J. Kerswell
Deposited On: 19 Mar 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:38

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