Marx’s Theory of Working-Class Precariousness – And Its Relevance Today
Worker precariousness has become a major issue globally.
Much of this, however, is divorced from the central role that this concept
played in Marx’s critique of political economy. This article traces the
notion of precarious labor back to its classical roots in historical
materialism, including Marx’s general law of accumulation and his reserve
army of labor conception. It then examines related work of such important
Marxian political economists as Harry Braverman and Stephen Hymer.
Utilizing these theoretical foundations and data from the International
Labor Organization, empirical estimates are provided of the extent of the
global reserve army today.
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