Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Tom Barnes: Informal Labour in Urban India: Three Cities, Three Journeys

Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Tom Barnes: Informal Labour in Urban India: Three Cities, Three Journeys

Article excerpt

Tom Barnes

Informal Labour in Urban India: Three Cities, Three Journeys

Routledge, Abingdon, 2015, 202pp.

The transformation of the Indian economy during the last quarter century is widely acknowledged. As this book shows, however, what is involved is not a straightforward process of change to a Western-style industrial and consumer society. Given India's size and complexity, one could hardly expect that to occur anyway. Linear forms of change--whether from backward to modern industry, from informal to formal employment, from rural to urban living, from widespread poverty to relative affluence, or from small to big enterprises--these are not useful ways of seeing what has actually been happening. This book by Tom Barnes is based on substantial fieldwork and data analysis he undertook in three urban centres where the economic and social transformations have been most striking. It offers deeper insight into the more complex transitions that have been occurring and the impacts on peoples' work and livelihoods.

According to Barnes, the key element in the story is the mass employment of informal labour. He demonstrates that here has been both a strong concentration of informal wage workers in formal sector enterprises and substantial growth in the number of waged workers employed in small enterprises. …

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