Labour and Development in East Asia: Social Forces and Passive Revolution, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Labour and Development in East Asia

Social Forces and Passive Revolution, 1st Edition

By Kevin Gray


186 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415681858
pub: 2014-10-16
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The Chinese Communist Party’s response to the wave of factory strikes in the early summer of 2010 has raised important questions about the role that labour plays in the transformation of world orders. In contrast to previous policies of repression towards labour unrest, these recent disputes centring round wages and working conditions have been met with a more permissive response on the part of the state, as the CCP ostensibly seeks to facilitate a transition away from a model of political economy based on ‘low-road’ labour relations and export dependence.

Labour and Development in East Asia shows that such inter-linkages between labour, geopolitical transformations, and states’ developmental strategies have been much more central to East Asia’s development than has commonly been recognised. By adopting an explanatory framework of the labour-geopolitics-development nexus, the book theorises and provides an historical analysis of the formation and transformation of the East Asian regional political economy from the end of the Second World War to the present, with particular reference to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China.

This book will be required reading for students and scholars of international relations, development studies and comparative politics.


'Drawing on the concept of passive revolution, Kevin Gray successfully highlights the dialectical relationship between the subordination of labour and wider geo-political dynamics underpinning East Asian Development. A must read for political economists!' Andreas Bieler, Professor of Political Economy, University of Nottingham, UK.

‘Gray’s account of unfolding tensions inherent in the political and ideological management of labour in China’s capitalist revolution is theoretically sophisticated, compelling in argument and well written.’ Garry Rodan, Professor of Politics & International Studies, Murdoch University, Australia.

'… Gray has written an informative and thought-provoking book. Teachers of global political economy and global labour studies will find it useful, as it critically summarizes writings on globalization and the rise of East Asia as an important industrial region.' - Anita Chan, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Labour, Development, and Passive Revolution, Chapter 2. Organised Labour and Japan's Passive Revolution, Chapter 3. Labour on the Front Line in Korea and Taiwan, Chapter 4. Labour and Democratisation in East Asia, Chapter 5. Neoliberalism, and the Reformulation of East Asia's Passive Revolution, Chapter 6. Chinese Workers' Challenge to Labour Subordination

About the Author

Kevin Gray is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Sussex. He is author of Korean Workers and Neoliberal Globalization, and co-editor of "Rising Powers and the Future of Global Governance" (with Craig N. Murphy), and "People Power in an Era of Global Crisis" (with Barry Gills).

About the Series

Rethinking Globalizations

This series is designed to break new ground in the literature on globalisation and its academic and popular understanding. Rather than perpetuating or simply reacting to the economic understanding of globalisation, this series seeks to capture the term and broaden its meaning to encompass a wide range of issues and disciplines and convey a sense of alternative possibilities for the future.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries