ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Is Decent Work Elusive under Globalisation and 4IR?

The global production chain has entered the phase of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The emerging countries are not immune from the trend of technology adoption either through domestic or international competition. Excessive use of technology has subdued the possibility of creating enough decent jobs for India and other emerging countries. The weakening relationship between economic and employment growth led by intense global competition and technology penetration is likely to complicate the decent employment agenda.

The dead machinery may be used to assist human efforts and must not be pitted against the millions of living machines represented by the villagers.

—M K Gandhi, Harijan (1935: 244)

The real planning consists of the best utilisation of the whole manpower of India.

—M K Gandhi, Harijan (1947: 198)

People remain poor either because they do not get sufficient alternative work at the prevailing wage rate or their household resource base is so inadequate so as to engage them productively at home. Although the lack of “ownership entitlement” (assets/land) pushes someone below the poverty line, people are less likely to remain poor even in its absence, if they find sufficient opp­ortunities to exchange their labour power (Sen 1981). The availability of decent employment opportunities, therefore, becomes imperative for poverty reduction and economic mobility. Galbraith (1958: 155), in this context, affirms that full employment is more desirable than increased production combined with une­mployment. The crucial role of emp­loyment was realised much earlier by M K Gandhi.1 He mentioned (Harijan 1934: 302) that labour is money and any person who can use his labour owns that money and converts his labour into cloth and grain. Gandhi also recognises that the disease of the masses is less the want of money so much as it is the want of work (Young India 1925: 211).

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Updated On : 24th Apr, 2022
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