Pyramid subcontracting and moral detachment: Down-sourcing risk and responsibility in the management of transnational labour in Asia

Amanda Wise*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Major transformations in the organisation of labour are having a profound effect on the moral character of the labour-capital contract. Using two small case studies undertaken in Singapore as a starting point, this article reflects on the moral economies of supply chain capitalism. Detailing examples of the human impacts of down-sourcing risk through 'flexible' modes of transnational employment, it analyses the strategies whereby firms and governments distance themselves from these consequences. Precarious forms of employment based on pyramid subcontracting arrangements allow a disruption of the moral relation (however tenuous) that is present in traditional face-to-face employment arrangements. The article explores four strategies of moral detachment on the part of the employers, contractors and brokers in the supply chain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-455
Number of pages23
JournalEconomic and Labour Relations Review
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

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