Participation in increasingly complex global production networks (GPNs) can generate new employment opportunities, new sources of income and better working conditions for vulnerable workers and poor households. Yet, for many, the pattern is one of ‘adverse incorporation’, characterised by highly precarious and exploitative forms of employment, and a perpetuation of chronic poverty and vulnerability. In this paper we seek empirically and theoretically to understand the dynamics of adverse incorporation in GPNs by exploring two questions. First, to what extent, in what ways and under what circumstances does chronic poverty foster patterns of adverse incorporation in GPNs for poor workers and producers? Secondly, to what extent, in what ways and under what circumstances can the workings of GPNs, and the terms on which poorer producers and workers are incorporated, be said to produce and reproduce chronic poverty? We focus here on the worst forms of adverse incorporation associated with ‘forced labour’, and pursue our investigation through an original study of what is usually called ‘slave labour’ in Brazil, focusing on the bovine cattle sector.
N. Phillips and L. Sakamoto. The dynamics of adverse incorporation in global production networks: Poverty, vulnerability and ‘slave labour’ in Brazil. CPRC Working Paper No. 175. Chronic Poverty Research Centre, London, UK (2011) 44 pp. ISBN 978-1-906433-77-2