Re: [OPE-L] the informal sector

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Fri Dec 10 2004 - 14:25:50 EST

>          It seems to me that you have begged the critical questions.
> Moving away from perhaps classic formulations, why-- in these days in
> which so  many are effectively excluded in much of the world -- not look
> on the informal sector as the reserve army?

Mike L,

I think one has to understand that there is segmentation and exploitation
within the petty commodity sector -- as the late David Drakakis-Smith
explained.  To view this sector as simply the reserve army fails in many
ways to grasp the relations within this sector and the differing relation of
the sector to the working class (e.g. in many urban areas, much of the food
eaten by proletarians is sold to them by members of the informal sector)
and capital (e.g. in many countries, capitalists have come to rely on
sector producers for supplies/inputs) and landowners (e.g. squatters
and living on the top floors of  buildings owned by landlords -- something
which is illegal but which happens with the agreement of  the landowners
and often bribes to state officials).  Also, there is often a different
relation to
the state because of the  illegal or semi-legal status of informal sector
Also, in many countries large numbers of homeless children provide for
themselves in this sector, but in what sense could these children be seen as
being part of the reserve army? It seems to me, indeed, that to argue that
informal sector is merely another name for the reserve army begs the
questions and moves one _towards_  classic formulations.

> How many of those street traders are there because they want to be?

Very few, but that's not the issue, is it?

In solidarity, Jerry

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