Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Verity Burgmann: Globalisation and Labour in the 21st Century

Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Verity Burgmann: Globalisation and Labour in the 21st Century

Article excerpt

Verity Burgmann

Globalisation and Labour in the 21st Century

Routledge, London and New York, 2016, pp. 262, hardback edition, $155.65.

Verity Burgmann's new book presents a labour perspective on the globalisation of corporate capital. It shows the multiple forms of action that workers can take in resisting, fighting back and formulating strategies for a better society--one that would not be dominated by the rule of capital. This challenges more conservative views that treat corporate capitalist globalisation as an unstoppable steamroller or implicitly adopt a state-centric reformism. Burgmann's quite different strategic class approach is reflected in her choice of chapter titles, each using active verbs: Confronting ... Reversing ... Subverting ...

Countering ... Confounding. Opposing. Protecting. Raging. She shows that, for each dimension of the challenge facing workers, there is an active response. This leads directly into discussion of what can be done, what works, what obstacles must be overcome and what more is needed.

Indeed, much can evidently be done by labour activists. Defending and extending the coverage of unions is critical, and one of the chapters carefully considers the possibilities for reversing the decline that has occurred in recent decades, including the better use of modern information technologies (workers of the world, unite online!). Other chapters look at struggles within industries where jobs offer only substandard sweatshop conditions, or where the jobs are threatened by lean production, capital flight and 'offshoring'. …

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