Labor Process and the Social Structure of Accumulation in China

TitleLabor Process and the Social Structure of Accumulation in China
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLi, Zhongjin, and Qi, Hao
JournalReview of Radical Political Economics
Pagination481 - 488
Date Published2014
KeywordsChina, Chinese economy, labor process, living wage, social structure of accumulation, wage gap

Inspired by the interplay between social structure of accumulation theory and labor process theory, this paper is to specify the particular mechanism that labor institutions take in accomplishing China’s rapid capital accumulation in the reform era. The paper starts by proposing a framework to understand the relation among overtime work, labor process, and the wage gap and presents the puzzling contradiction between low wages and the need to sustain the reproduction of labor power for Chinese workers. The paper then details the bi-directional determination between the subordination of labor in the workplace and the wage gap, and further analyzes the critical conditions for the stability of the current labor institutions and sustaining capital accumulation.