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Land outsourcing and labour contracting: Labour management in China's capitalist farms


Chen Yiyuan

Corresponding authors: Chen Yiyuane-mail: chenyiyuan1988@163.com

Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol.20, No.2, 2020

Abstract:Difficulty in labour supervision has been considered to be one of the obstacles to the development of capitalist agriculture. This paper presents two distinctive labour management strategies in China's large‐scale agriculture, which contribute to the development of agrarian capitalism in China. As shown in these cases, agribusiness companies engaged in grain crop production retreat from direct labour management by outsourcing crop cultivation, while acquiring profits from upstream and downstream activities. On the other hand, capitalist producers, who are involved in the labour‐intensive and capital‐intensive crop production, tend to mobilize local elites to manage the farmworkers. Although independent labour contracting services have not emerged, a specialized group of labour contractors is being cultivated. Rural social resources are utilized in labour recruitment and supervision to minimize the labour management costs in both strategies. However, the conflicts between capital and labour are covered or replaced instead of being settled.

Keywords:capitalist farms in China; labour contracting; labour management; land outsourcing


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To link to this article:https://doi.org/10.1111/joac.12353


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