Prokla 117: Informalisierung: Transformation und Überlebensstrategien


in (09.12.1999)

Summaries aller Aufsätze der Prokla 117, Vol. 29 (1999), Nummer. 4 in englischer Sprache

SUMMARIES PROKLA 117, Vol. 29 (1999), No. 4

Reinhart Kössler, Gerhard Hauck: Strategies for survival and informalisation in postcolonial societies. Informalisation processes are understood usefully in the contexts of various survival strategies, employed by the poor, especially under conditions of continuing deregulation. Far from presenting the panacea expected by informal sector enthusiasts, survival strategies are directed towards dealing with current crisis phenomena. In doing so, the spreading of risks, combining multiples avenues of economic gain and subsistence activites, turns out as adequate and rational. This rests not least on trust in terms of horizontal social relations, and on the exchange of loyality for protection in the vertical direction. While this entails traits of a moral, or (partially) embedded economy, such findings should not foster any romanticist conclusions. Rather, connections of informal economic and political activities with shadow economies and with processes of the criminalisation of state apparatuses point both to the modern content of informal relationships and to the severe risks they carry.

Robert Kappel African Chaos and Chances for endogenous Development. Africa is poorer than any other region in the world. Many countries are chaos-stricken, and most observers see a long-term decline. Structural adjustments have done so far less in order to solve at least some of the deep problems. Capitalism is not far-reaching, and the informal economy dominates the lives of the majority of the people. Will the informal economy, which is growing in the urbanisation process, form the basis for an alternative "endogenous economy"? This study identifies the growth perspectives of small and medium enterprises and industrial clusters. And it looks into new growth and locational theories, which have argued that agglomerations might favour local production and investment in a globalized world.

Christa Wichterich: Recognition, Rights, Ressources. Women's Organisations in the Informal Sector in the South. The informal sector appears to be the ,,unorganised" sector. However, recently a number of new organisations of domestic workers, home based workers and self-employed women came up. Starting with an analysis of the actors, their strategies and objectives the article proposes an empowerment concept as conceptual framework which goes beyond traditional trade unionism.

Lydia Heller, Sabine Nuss: Transformation in Russia. The illusion of a market-economy as a result of informal regulation. Recent analyses on Russia's transformation are more and more tending to become ,,gangster-stories". Contrary to approaches based on dividing economies into ,,informal", ,,criminal" etc. ,,sectors" this essay tries to analyze the transformation process in Russia with regard to the special conditions given there for the genesis of a market-economy. It shows that the implementation of elements of market-economies, first of all private property, always went together with new qualities and quantities of ,,informal behavior". As a result we identify no break - first planned than market-economy - but a continuous ,,informal regulation" which brings out only the illusion of a market-society.

Bettina Musiolek: The informalization of the textile and garment trade - past and current Eastern European examples. History and today's development of the garment industry include an intensive coexistence between forms of informal and formal labour which both provide the conditions for each other. The establishment of the female ,supplementary labour` as against the male proletarian breadwinner belongs essentially to this process and constitutes a background for ,normal` violations of labour rights in the garment industry. Eastern Europe's garment production still show the pattern of accumulation at the expense of underpaid, partly or fully informal labour and subsistence economy. Present initiatives within the civil society call for codes of conduct and a living wage as instruments to include informal labour in social regulation throughout the subcontracting chain.

Dorothea Schmidt: Back to the turn of the century? Historical and recent patterns of self-employment and entrepreneurship in Germany. Since the last century, it seems that Germany, like other industrial countries, has changed more and more towards a society of employees. Whereas in the years before 1914 more than one fifth of the labour force worked as self-employed or as employers, this rate turned down to less than one tenth in the 1970s. In the last decades, the rate is augmenting again and this rises the question, if a situation comparable to the one ninety years earlier is reemerging. Indeed, some patterns - e.g. the importance of self-employed, the situation of women - resemble to former times. Nevertheless, if one considers the reasons for the economic survival of self-employed and of small employers, there are great differences.

Haroldo Dilla: Comrads and Investors: The Uncertain Transition in Cuba. After serious economic decline at the beginning of the nineties market oriented reforms brought a recovery but produced a fundamental recomposition of social classes and the fragmentation of the popular sectors. Against this the possibilities of a renewed, internationally rooted socialism, which would also needs new political patterns, are discussed.

Francois Rigaux: P. Multinational Companies, state, and law. Some multinational companies hold more power than smaller states and they can do much harm especially to ,,underdeveloped" economies and their inhabitants. A international legal prosecution of these companies is rather difficult. The division of (both national and international) law in public and private law is not appropriate for the case of the multinational companies.

Zu den AutorInnen

Haroldo Dilla ist Sozialwisssenschaftler in Kuba,

Gerhard Hauck lehrt Soziologie an der Universität Heidelberg und lebt in Colmarer Str. 88, 76829 Landau

Lydia Heller studiert an der FU Berlin Kommunikationswissenschaften und Politologie,

Robert Kappel lehrt Soziologie an der Universität Leipzig,

Reinhart Kößler lehrt Soziologie an der Universität Münster und lebt in Im Uhlenwinkel 8, 44892 Bochum

Bettina Musiolek ist Sozioökonomin und Osteuropa-Koordinatorin der europäischen Clean Clothes Campaign, NRO-Frauenforum e.V.,

Sabine Nuss ist Politologin und lebt in Berlin,

Dorothea Schmidt lehrt an der Fachhochschule für Wirtschaft, Berlin und ist Mitglied der PROKLA-Redaktion

Francois Rigaux lehrte Rechtswissenschaften an der Universität Louvain, Belgien.

Christa Wichterich ist Soziologin und lebt in Bonn,