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Governance of labour and the elusive home market 
Jacob Nerenberg (International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden University)
Alina-Sandra Cucu (Institute of Advanced Studies, Nantes)
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Format :
Thursday 28 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel examines approaches to governing livelihoods in contexts lacking a viable "home market" that could integrate labour, consumption and production. Its varied case studies illustrate contradictory politics involved in the coordination of labour markets within capitalist value logics.

Long Abstract:

As dogmas of self-regulating markets slowly recede, the interweaving of market planning and labour regulation has re-entered mainstream discussions. It is becoming more common for governments to state once-taboo goals of coordinating labour markets and even guiding the organization of production. In many contexts however these objectives are impeded by the absence of what Marx called the "home market": the market for domestically or locally produced goods, whether for consumption or as inputs for industries. Dependency analysts once recognized that the lack of a viable home market can destabilize work forces through exposure to international price fluctuations. This panel proposes to consider the social, economic and discursive life of—and obstacles to—various modes of market management; and to analyse approaches to governing livelihoods and labour (whether waged or not) under circumstances where the home market is uneven, absent, or unfeasible. It brings together case studies from different contexts where government bodies at various scales have been confronted with problems as varied as dependence on food imports, lack of off-farm employment, narrowing industrial profit margins, unstable supply of workers or buyers, or inter-ethnic inequalities and inter-regional unevenness. What class contradictions arise in attempts to coordinate labour and other markets within particular capitalist logics of surplus value appropriation? How do contemporary problems relate to histories of dispossession, dis/investment, crisis or market reform—and dynamics of capital flow linking scales from local to global? What forms of meaning-making and political action take shape in the shadow of the elusive home market?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -