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Property, Labour and Legal Regulation

Dignity or Dependence?

Mark Findlay

In this revealing comparative study, Mark Findlay examines the problematic nexus between undervalued labour and vulnerable migration status in dis-embedded markets. It highlights the frustrations raised by timeless regulatory failure and the chronic complicity of private property arrangements in delivering unsustainable market engagement. Mark Findlay identifies the challenge for normative and functional foundations of equitable governance, by repositioning regulatory principle, to restore dignity to market relations.
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Chapter 6: Regulatory preferencing: a comparative study

Mark Findlay


Input driven growth is an essentially limited process … once one allows for their rapid growth of inputs, the productivity performance of the ‘tigers’ falls from ‘the heights of Olympus to the plains of Thessaly.’1

The simple hypothesis that increasing regulation of the migrant labour market improves the quality of the market experience for its most vulnerable stakeholders, has been challenged in Chapter 2. To understand why this correlation does not naturally hold, the following argument focuses on preferential private property arrangements as forces which disembed migrant labour markets and undermine their sustainability. In particular, we examine how law, its shadow, or its selective absence promote and perpetuate private property relationships determined to disempower migrant labour force, so that its commodification enables agents, employers and the state to profit at the expense of realistic and fair labour pricing.2

The empirical core of this chapter is a brief and targeted account of the migrant labour market (MLM), in certain receiving countries, and the regional regimes (the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN))3 which may exert some regulatory influence over identified nation state regulation.4 The comparative endeavour engages state-to-state practice, nation state to regional regulatory approaches, and specifies the dynamics of migration/employment frameworks through a staged migrant labour process. Each of the four selected stages in the migrant labour flow are crucial decision sites where, in particular, the impact of contracting and agency (introduced more fully in chapters 4 and 5)...

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