Down and Out: Labouring Under Global Capitalism

Front Cover
Amsterdam University Press, 2000 - Business & Economics - 156 pages
Poverty is the dominant feature of the working lives portrayed in this book. But the misery of these men, women, and children in India has little to do with the underdevelopment of the past. The poverty here is caused by development and is concentrated mainly in what is referred to as the informal sector of the economy, which is what four-fifths of India's population depends on for its livelihood. It concerns the type of work that requires little or no capital investment or education and is small-scale by nature. The wages earned from these enterprises are not only low but are also characterized by strong work fluctuations per day, month, or season. Two other factors characterize this type of work: the absence of governmental monitoring and also, the absence of organizations, namely unions, which traditionally represented the concerns of the working class.

The choice for India emerges from the research of Jan Breman, performed over a 30-year period in an area located on India's west coast, the site of enormous economic growth. He has now returned to this location with photographer, Ravi Agarwal, to present a portrait of the working classes of this particular area. Together with Arvind Das, a well-known journalist and commentator on business matters in India, Jan Breman has written the text which accompanies the photographs.
 

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Contents

PROLOGUE
2
INTRODUCTION
12
THE VILLAGE
26
ON THE MOVE
36
WORK SITES PROCESSES
46
THE WEFT AND THE WARP
58
BEHIND THE GLITTER
76
CRUSHING CANE AND LABOUR
86
THE BRICK MAKERS
96
BUILDERS AND DIGGERS
110
THE ASSERTION OF DIGNITY
138
EPILOGUE
150
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Jan Breman is emeritus professor of comparative sociology at the University of Amsterdam.

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