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Social Contracts and Informal Workers in the Global South
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Social Contracts and Informal Workers in the Global South

9781839108051 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Laura Alfers, Research Associate, Department of Sociology, Rhodes University, South Africa and Director, Social Protection Programme, WIEGO, UK, Martha Chen, Lecturer of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, US and Senior Advisor, WIEGO, UK and Sophie Plagerson, Visiting Associate Professor, Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg, South Africa and independent consultant, the Netherlands
Publication Date: 2022 ISBN: 978 1 83910 805 1 Extent: 256 pp
This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License. It is free to read, download and share on Elgaronline.

Illustrating how current social contracts may be considered inadequate, irrelevant or unjust, Social Contracts and Informal Workers in the Global South draws on the accounts of informal workers to advocate for radically new conceptualizations of state-society, capital-labour and state-capital-labour relations characterised by recognition, responsiveness and reciprocity.

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Critical Acclaim
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Social Contracts and Informal Workers in the Global South draws on the accounts of informal workers, who represent over 60 per cent of the global workforce, to advocate for radically new conceptualizations of state-society, capital-labour and state-capital-labour relations, illustrating how current social contracts may be considered inadequate, irrelevant or unjust.

Bridging social contract theories, both mainstream and critical, and the experiences of informal workers – self-employed, wage employed and sub-contracted – this book sheds light on how many existing social contract models stigmatize informal workers and do not offer legal or social protection. Instead of ideologically driven ‘top-down’ calls to revitalize the social contract, it advocates for ‘bottom-up’ initiatives focused on the demands of the working poor in the informal economy.

With a wealth of cross-national evidence, as well as promising case studies, this timely and thought-provoking book will prove vital for scholars and researchers of informal workers and of state-capital-labour relations; and for policy makers negotiating new social contracts.

Critical Acclaim
‘An original and insightful contribution to rethinking the social contract. Instead of prescribing from above, the authors redirect attention to the perspective of informal workers, to their needs, demands and agency, and to the new realities of informality exposed by COVID-19, digital employment, and new forms of collective action.’
– Kate Meagher, London School of Economics, UK

'Informal work arrangements predominate in developing countries and are increasing in rich nations. How should we deal with this? This book makes a novel case for an approach based on social contracts that recognise informal workers as legitimate economic agents, and therefore include them in social dialogue and policy-making and rule-setting processes. Such imaginative thinking about informality is urgent and necessary.'
– Jayati Ghosh, University of Massachusetts Amherst, US

‘Most people work in the informal sector and yet our social contracts often exclude them. This volume provides compelling evidence from around the world as to why a better social contract for all of us would provide great security and opportunity for the world’s informal sector workers. A must read for those who care about creating a fairer world.’
– Minouche Shafik, London School of Economics, UK and author of What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract
Contributors
Contributors: Laura Alfers, Françoise Carré, Taylor Cass Talbott, Martha Chen, Salonie Muralidhara Hiriyur, Rachel Moussié, Ana Carolina Ogando, Sarah Orleans Reed, Sophie Plagerson, Sally Roever, Michael Rogan, Marlese von Broembsen
Contents
Contents:

Introduction: social contracts and informal workers in the global South 1
Sophie Plagerson, Laura Alfers and Martha Chen
1 Recognition, responsiveness and reciprocity: what
informal worker leaders expect from the state, the private
sector and themselves 31
Sally Roever and Ana Carolina Ogando
2 Self-employment and social contracts: from the perspective
of the informal self-employed 49
Martha Chen
3 “Dependent Contractor”: towards the recognitions of a new
labor category 73
Françoise Carré
4 Taxation and the informal sector in the global South:
strengthening the social contract without reciprocity? 85
Michael Rogan
5 Towards a more inclusive social protection: informal
workers and the struggle for a new social contract 106
Laura Alfers and Rachel Moussié
6 Extended Producer Responsibility: opportunities and
challenges for waste pickers 126
Taylor Cass Talbott
7 Human rights and transnational social contracts: the
recognition and inclusion of homeworkers? 144
Marlese von Broembsen
8 Informal workers harnessing the power of digital platforms
in India 169
Salonie Muralidhara Hiriyur
9 “Essential and disposable? Or just disposable?” Informal
workers during COVID-19 189
Sarah Orleans Reed
Conclusion: Post-pandemic epilogue – the bad old contract, an
even worse contract or a better social contract for informal workers? 216
Laura Alfers, Martha Chen and Sophie Plagerson

Index
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