Interlinked Contracts and Social Power

Kaveri Gill

in Of Poverty and Plastic

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198060864
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080175 | DOI:
Interlinked Contracts and Social Power

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This chapter examines the nature of the exchange relations between two groups of informal labourers engaged in waste scavenging and recovery — waste pickers and itinerant buyers and their respective dealers — in the context of interlinked transactions across a number of urban markets, predominantly those of labour, output (in this case, waste), land, and finance. By examining the disparate natures of the two sets of implicit contracts, it seeks to get to the roots of the exploitation question. In applying to an urban setting a political economy approach that has hitherto been applied almost without exception to the rural domain, this chapter seeks to bridge the artificial rural-urban divide in the analysis of poverty and interlinked contracts. First, it discusses the informal recovery of recyclable waste, the caste identity of informal waste collectors and their dealers, and the economic and social basis of their exchange relationship. Finally, it explains differences in these exchange relationships by adopting an explicit approach to power.

Keywords: exchange relations; scavenging; waste pickers; itinerant buyers; dealers; interlinked contracts; power; exploitation; poverty; caste

Chapter.  16651 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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