Real-World Economics Review Blog

from Deniz Kellecioglu

“We were only tolerated simply because our cheap labour is needed.” (Steve Biko)

The killings of 34 demonstrating mine workers in South Africa last month has several background factors, but two of them stand out: police brutality and the exploitation of workers. And they are interlinked.

The aggressiveness of the security forces’ represent the conditioning produced by the governmentality of national and international elites. Thus, the assault in Marikana, South Africa is not an isolated event, it’s a global phenomenon. One major difference is the explicitness of this event – workers usually perish in silence due to, for instance, poor health or social violence, away from the cameras.

The economics behind this governmentality propose that the labour market has to be “flexible” to the demands of “the market”. In other words,

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