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Capital Accumulation and Women's Labor in Asian Economies

New edition with an introduction by Jayati Ghosh (Monthly Review Press, New Work, June 2012).

The global impact of Asian production of the wage goods consumed in North America and Europe is only now being recognized, and is far from being understood. Asian women, most only recently urbanized and in the waged work force, are at the center of a process of intensive labor for minimal wages that has upended the entire global economy.

First published in 1997, this prescient study is the best available summary of this crucial process as it took hold at the very end of the twentieth century. This new edition brings the discussion up to 2011 with an extensive introduction by world-famous economist Jayati Ghosh of New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Drawing on extensive data concerning the laboring conditions of women workers and peasant women, this ambitious book provides a theoretical interpretation of the rapidly changing economic conditions in the contemporary global economy and particularly in Asia, and their consequences for women. It is based on prolonged field research in India, Bangladesh, and Japan, combined with a broad comparative study of currents in international feminism.
Peter Custers reasserts the relevance of Marxist concepts for understanding processes of socio-economic change in Asia and the world, but argues forcefully that these concepts need to be enlarged to include the perspective of feminist theoreticians. In the process, he assesses the theoretical relevance of several currents in international feminism, including ecofeminism, the German feminist school, and socialist feminism.

With its strong theoretical framework, supported by massive amounts of evidence, this important book will interest all those involved in women’s studies, social movements, economics, sociology, and social and economic theory.

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