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Re: <nettime> The Art of Sweatshops
Jeebesh Bagchi on Sun, 8 Aug 2004 13:35:29 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> The Art of Sweatshops


>> Even Mexico, where the minimum wage is not enough to
>>feed a family of four, is losing maquiladoras weekly to China.
>>


Is one persons wage sufficient to maintain a family in Europe and US?  
Just, curious.

My own travel in the US and Europe amongst professionals, makes it clear
that two persons wages are critical to maintain a smallish domestic unit.
If you include, the taking care of out of productive years lifes, then the
wages are really absysmal.

I would think, the category of `cheap labour` is used more as a rhetorical
device. Its like the earlier images of `free labour` versus `bonded
labour`. If we try, to use these categories to understand todays corporate
work contracts, very little can be explained about the new work regimes.

Capital always moved to spaces of lower variable capital. Either it
intensified the labour process, or extended the working day. It reaches
its limit in a location and then searches for new locations. The intensity
of labour in US and Europe, is very high. People there work very fast and
hard. Yet it is not very lucrative to Mr.Capital.

What would constitute `wage`? Interestingly, cheap labour narrative
somehow displaces very little curosity about it. Here, a call center
worker has a much greater wage than other sectors of manufacturing or
services. The `spatial fix` of describing capitalism as `good spaces`
(North) and `bad spaces` (South) has very little to offer in describing
the experience of labour or labouring under global capitalism. The terms
industry uses - `cheap labour` or `out-sourcing`- have now become
explanatory categories. Weird.





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