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G. Honor Fagan and Ronaldo Munck
The Quest for Inclusive Development
Industrial relations is as relevant in emerging economies as it is in developed economies. The chapter examines the institutionalization of employment relations in five emerging economies: Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Turkey. The analysis reveals patterns of continuity and discontinuity. Many features of industrial relations remain path-dependent despite significant changes in the economic and political context in each of these countries. Democratic transition and the incorporation of organized labour and employers expanded the influence of these actors on economic and social policy. However, the liberalization of product and service markets placed pressure on industrial relations institutions. The degree to which these institutions have been able to contribute to inclusive development depended on a balance of associational and institutional power. This determined their capacity to influence labour and social policy at a macro level and to regulate flexibility at the workplace. High degrees of unemployment and informal employment pose internal constraints on industrial relations institutions and limit their potential to contribute to inclusive outcomes. This is compounded by a deepening representational gap and the increasing heterogeneity among members of employers’ and workers’ organizations. Without a concerted effort to expand labour protection through institutions for labour relations to all those who work, industrial relations will continue to be eroded and constrained in its ability to contribute to inclusive development.
Theories of development and social change most often seek to trace a continuity to the era of antiquity, presumably to show its centrality to the ‘human condition’ and its universal relevance. It is often submerged within an overarching teleological concept of ‘progress’ that colours all aspects of the theory and its application. For us, following Foucault, the pursuit of origins is necessarily essentialist. The critical discourse, or genealogical, approach we adopt needs to be set in the context of complexity, too often elided in both mainstream and oppositional development theory. With the social world becoming more complex and elusive, our research approach has to itself become more nuanced and not be reduced to the study of discrete hierarchical entities. Our approach to development needs to be adequate for ‘a world that enacts itself to produce unpredictable and non-linear flows and more mobile subjectivities’, as Law and Urry argue.