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  • The Labor Question and Dependent Capitalism: The Case of Latin America

    Ronaldo Munck

    Chapter from the book: Breman, J et al. 2019. The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century: A Global View.


    The current debate on the social question at a global level needs to recognise the overarching structural divisions between dominant imperialist countries and ‘dependent capitalism’. This chapter explores the particularities of the ‘labor question’ in Latin America, showing its links with various forms of the ‘national question’. First, the National Developmental State era is reviewed, running roughly from the 1950’s to the late 1970’s, followed by the so-called Lost Decade of the 1980’s and after, coinciding with the heyday of neoliberal economic policies. It then reviews the debate around the Marginality Question in which Latin American scholars made a somewhat neglected contribution to the formal/informal divide that has more recently become known as the precarity debate. The way capital interacts with labor is a two way process and the chapter turns to the rise of significant social counter-movements in the 2000’s known as the Left Decade in Latin America. Major changes in the capital/wage-labor relations are noted, and a partial reversal of the ongoing process of precaritization. The chapter concludes with some final thoughts on the nature of the labor question under dependent capitalism in the Latin American case and the global issues it raises.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Munck, R. 2019. The Labor Question and Dependent Capitalism: The Case of Latin America. In: Breman, J et al (eds.), The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.74.h

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    Published on July 30, 2019