Labour Relations and Industrial Performance in Brazil: Greater Saao Paulo, 1945-1960 Renato Colistete

By Renato Colistete | Go to book overview

Preface

Economic history as an academic discipline has a long tradition of analysis of economic growth, industrialisation and economic performance. A more difficult subject has been the links and reciprocal influences between institutions and social actors on the one hand, and economic outcomes on the other. In part, such a difficulty lies in the shortcomings of economic analysis itself, as most economic approaches rule out institutions and social groups as relevant variables in their theories and models. More important, however, are the analytical difficulties in coming to terms with the multifaceted nature of institutions and social actors and their impact on economic outcomes from a historical perspective. The issue has been addressed by scholars from different theoretical perspectives. 1 Even so, systematic research in economic history following their steps has been relatively scant. A striking example of this is the paucity of research into the long-term impact of labour relations on economic outcomes such as growth, industrial performance and competitiveness.

Such an unsatisfactory state of affairs in economic history is well illustrated by the historiography on industrialisation in Brazil. Although numerous sociological, political and historical studies have provided valuable descriptions and interpretations of the nature and evolution of industrial labour relations in Brazil, there have been very few attempts to address the links between labour and economic outcomes. Overall the Brazilian working class was seen as marked by a lack of class consciousness – owing to its rural origins or political manipulation – which prevented it from playing an effective role in Brazil’s industrialisation process. As argued by a major exponent of this interpretation, what was unusual in Brazil was the absence of ‘conflict between capital and labour’ as a decisive factor in ‘industrial modernisation, democracy and general dynamics of social change’ in Brazilian history. 2

Recently an important revisionist literature has attacked such premises and drawn a more dynamic view of industrial labour relations in Brazil. Nevertheless, following the parameters set by the classic views of labour relations, these revisionist studies have mostly focused on the political aspects of working-class organisation and its relationship with political parties and the state. As a result, the questions raised by this literature

-xxi-

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Labour Relations and Industrial Performance in Brazil: Greater Saao Paulo, 1945-1960 Renato Colistete
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • List of Figures xi
  • List of Tables xiii
  • List of Abbreviations xv
  • Acknowledgements xix
  • Preface xxi
  • Part I - The Industrial Workforce and the Labour Markets *
  • 1 - The Structure of the Labour Markets 3
  • 2 - Shaping the Labour Markets 33
  • Part II - Working Conditions *
  • 3 - The Factory Environment 65
  • 4 - Shaping the Factory Environment 93
  • Part III - Industrial Performance *
  • 5 - Industrial Capabilities 121
  • 6 - The Political Economy of Productivity Performance 153
  • 7 - Conclusions 183
  • Appendix A - Basic Economic and Labour Statistics 186
  • Appendix B - Factory Conditions in São Paulo 193
  • Notes 194
  • Bibliography 210
  • Index 222
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