The globalization of china’s industrial reserve army : its formation and impacts on wages in advanced countries

Abstract : The present thesis assesses how China’s integration in the globalcapitalist economy has been associated with the deterioration of labor position vis-à-viscapital in advanced economies expressed in stagnant real wages and worsening workingconditions. We propose an interpretation grounded on the globalization of China’s vastindustrial reserve army as a byproduct of the alliance between the Chinese state and advancedcountries’ capitals in their productive form. On the one hand, we discuss the formation ofChina’s industrial reserve army which has underpinned the process of proletarianization in thecountry as creatures of the party-state achieved through means of primitive accumulation. Onthe other hand, we discuss how advanced countries’ capitals access to this vast reserveindustrial reserve army in preferred terms, actively enabled by the Chinese party-state, hasincreased profitability through two crucial outcomes, by immediate and drastically reducingunit labor costs and by making China’s industrial reserve army global, tilting the balance ofpower back home towards capital. We then consider the interplay of the opposite effects ofthese two outcomes – the ‘terms of trade effect’ and the weakening of laborers’ bargainingpower – over real wages and working conditions in advanced countries. We claim that theglobalization of China’s vast industrial reserve army has provided critical mass to break thehistorical connection between industrial production and consumer markets in advancedcountries that provided the material basis in which workers were able to conquer theconstruction of institutional links between productivity and real wage growth.
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Esther Majerowicz Gouveia. The globalization of china’s industrial reserve army : its formation and impacts on wages in advanced countries. Sociology. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité; Universidad de Estado de Rio de Janeiro (Brésil), 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016USPCD044⟩. ⟨tel-02098296⟩

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