reserve army of labour

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reserve army of labour

unemployed workers, their number continuously renewed within capitalism, who by competing for jobs help to depress wages. In Marxism, the existence of this group is held to tend to force wages down to subsistence levels. Marxists, however, acknowledge that, in practice, a tendency to immiseration from this source is offset by a number of counteracting tendencies, including trade union action, which have increased the ‘historical and moral’ element in the value of labour power. Nevertheless, that unemployment remains a factor in the bargaining power possessed by labour, is seen in the correlation that exists between periods of full employment and wage increases and wage inflation.
References in periodicals archive ?
What was engineered there in Marxist terms was a crisis of capitalism which recreated a reserve army of labor and has allowed capitalists to make high profits ever since.
Interestingly, Longhi's own nation of Italy used to provide a "vast reserve army of labor," as the Marxists say, to the entire world.
In the final analysis, these are seen here as institutions of social control: "the only way the state has to keep the reserve army of labor in check is by [creating] lockdown conditions in urban areas.
The reserve army of labor is a mass of human beings who will work under any conditions.
Instead of leaving them to stew on some impoverished reservation, it permits them to join forces with Jewish workers in order to challenge the very idea of a reserve army of labor.
In another idiom, the reserve army of labor was no longer performing its historic function" (Ibid.
One possible explanation for China's low inflation is that it has used imported technology, foreign investment, and migration of workers from agriculture to industry to greatly increase labor productivity, even while using its reserve army of labor from the interior provinces to keep wages low in the industrial seaboard provinces.
United States has--and indeed depends on--a large reserve army of labor.
The reserve army of labor was not put out of commission, however; it was simply reorganized according to new rules.
By the way, Braverman's discussion of the Reserve Army of Labor in Chapter 17 is worth a careful reading, especially today, with the official unemployment rate in the United States so low.
The typical leftist version envisions a well-paid working class, empowered chiefly by the basence of a reserve army of labor available to work at any price.
95-26; Frances Fox-Piven, "The New Reserve Army of Labor," Audacious Democracy: Labor, Intellectuals, and the Social Reconstruction of America, Stephen Fraser and Joshua Freeman, eds.