Chapter 13 Producing (Im-)mobile Capital and Labour in the Arab-Gulf Region

From the British Empire to Independent States

In: Migrant Actors Worldwide
Author:
Radhika Kanchana
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Abstract

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, which are all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), stand out globally for their significant reliance on migrant labour and face widespread criticism owing to their generally harsh and abusive work conditions, especially at the lower-wage tiers. The economies in the Arab-Gulf region show a clear pattern whereby capital is concentrated and immobile, and (foreign) labour is imported and subsequently immobilized to achieve a maximum in cheap and flexible manpower. The chapter argues that this is not merely due to the authoritarian and conservative Islamic regimes but that present-day policies (or “no policy” as policy) need to be contextualized in deeper social and historical roots, especially the British colonial legacy including slavery and the long-existing kafala system.

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Migrant Actors Worldwide

Capitalist Interests, State Regulations, and Left-Wing Strategies

Series:  Studies in Global Social History, Volume: 53/16 and  Studies in Global Migration History, Volume: 53/16

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