Reserve army of labor and migration
Published Online: 4 FEB 2013
Copyright © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration
How to Cite
Duggan, M. C. 2013. Reserve army of labor and migration. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .
- Published Online: 4 FEB 2013
For exploitation by capital, Karl Marx 1990 argued, workers must be free in the double sense – free of possessions, but also politically free. Yet, the 19th-century situation that Marx analyzed included Irish immigrants who formed a subsection of the British working class with fewer political rights. Marx began with a discussion of how economic growth under capitalism creates unemployment, which evolved into a discussion of five components of the working class: army of labor, floating reserve, stagnant pool, latent reserve, and paupers. While Marx never explicitly mentioned the lack of political rights, he did suggest that Irish migrants in the British working class were trapped in precarious stagnant pool jobs. This essay will examine Marx's theory of the multisector reserve army, and draw out the political implications for undocumented immigrants in modern advanced economies.
- labor supply;
- political economy;