This volume is about why ‘work’ changed to become more precarious around the turn of the century. This happened not just in the developed world but also inside sectors that were demarcated as organized and modern within developing countries like India. In these sectors, unlike the greater part of the Indian economy, insecure jobs were uncommon before winds of change made them normal. This shift had occurred before the great global financial crisis of 2008.
Between 2005-8 a survey based on over thousand structured interviews with workers in offices, factories, shops and establishments (below the supervisory rank) in Mumbai was undertaken. This is the innovative segment of the book which tries to measure and quantify some of these changes and their associations. It is designed to investigate the central proposition of the ‘Insecurity Hypothesis’ (IH), which is that the economic risk of increased and global competition was being progressively passed on from the employer to the employee. This was happening through shortened job tenure, erratic remuneration, variable work, contingent employment, and institutional changes that remove or reduce protection, bargaining power of employees in the work place everywhere. The corollary is that widespread and unremitting work (and income related) insecurity is an expedient competitive strategy but a damaging socio-economic phenomenon.
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Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Insecurity Hypothesis 2. The Insecurity Hypothesis and Flexibilization of Labour Markets 3. The Survey and Analysis 4. Correlates of Insecurity: Human Resource Management 5. Correlates of the Insecurity: Skill Formation 6. Correlates of Insecurity: Trade Unions 7. Conclusion
Anuradha Kalhan has taught economics in Mumbai for thirty years and has a PhD in the subject from the University of Mumbai. She has been an active member of the Bombay University and College Teachers Union, a member of its executive committee and an elected member of the Senate of University of Mumbai. She was a Fellow at Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, New Delhi in 2013-15. As an independent researcher she now divides her time between California, Scotland, Mumbai and Pune.