The term “precarity” pays attention to the various ways in which policies and processes that promote economic growth can also, at the same time, induce a state of precarity or precarious living. In this introductory article, we interrogate one of the paradoxes of Asian development: greater precarity set against the backdrop of an economic “miracle.” The focus is on how policies and processes that are part of neo-liberal orthodoxy create new forms of marginalisation or precarity and new classes of the marginalised or the precariat. These include: transnational migrants without basic protection; factory workers employed on casual contracts; elderly with no old age state support; minorities dispossessed by land grabbing or resettled to make way for mega-projects; and farmers facing declining terms of trade, shrinking landholdings, and growing debts as they invest in new farm technologies. These disparate experiences provide a telling antidote to the growth-at-all-costs philosophy that favours economic expansion over matters of distribution, material prosperity over human flourishing, and corporate profitability over workers’ basic incomes.
Bibliographical noteThe acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.
- Asian miracle
- neo-liberal orthodoxy