Globalization, Gendered Labor Regimes, and the Potential for State/Corporate Criminality

Raymond J. Michalowski, Northern Arizona University
Ronald C. Kramer, Western Michigan University

This paper examines the ways that global corporate expansion has promoted a re/gendering of labor regimes, particularly in developing nations. Globalization is not abstract. It is the evolving outcome of state/corporate strategies that rely, among other things, on finding or creating labor regimes that will maximize profits by minimizing the return of corporate revenue to workers and their families as wages, benefits, or public capital. Key among these re/gendering strategies in many developing countries has been the liberation of women from traditional role constraints and their reconstitution as free subjects in the labor market. The apparent liberation and freedom of women in the global labor market, however, is both partial and contingent. Global corporations and host-states utilize a variety of exploitative practices and traditional role expectations to keep newly industrialized female workers from challenging the conditions and risks of their labor. The consequence has been the emergence of labor regimes in which worker rights, worker safety, and worker freedom approximate more closely those of the 19th rather than the 21st century workers.

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Updated 05/20/2006