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330 Immigrant Labor

330 Immigrant Labor - Immigrant Labor and Cultural...

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Immigrant Labor and Cultural Diversity (imm) “We wanted a labor force, but human beings came.”—Swiss writer Max Ernst 1. The Pull and Push of Immigrant Labor in the Contemporary World: the Globalization of Production Throughout the world there are long traditions of seasonal labor, i.e. rural populations which work the land during the growing season and then undertake some other form of labor after the harvest in completed like Menchu's family. These shade over to more permanent forms of immigration. The phenomenon of immigrant labor is worldwide: the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait revealed the large number of Palestinians and South Asians who were working in the nation at the time (and who had to be repatriated after the Iraqi takeover). In 2007, foreigners made up 85% of the population of the United Arab Emirates—-and 99% if the workforce in the private sector. Labor immigration in parts of Western Europe is tied to an unprecedented "graying" of the population. And the adaptation in North America and Western Europe of the Japanese model of a small protected core workforce and a much wider use of temporary labor and sub-contracting has encouraged the use of foreign workers, who can be provided legally with far fewer social benefits and more easily hired and fired. The creation of the European Union allowed workers from former Communist central European nations to go to Western Europe to work. If the Polish initially fretted over the competition from “Polish plumbers,” by 2008 the growing strength of the Polish economy was luring workers back. Large numbers of workers from Rumania (which joined the EU in 2007) have gone to Western Europe to work, leading Rumanian businesses to respond by importing workers from the People’s Republic of China. 2. Japan and Japanese of Korean Ancestry Japan stands out among industrial economies for its rejection of dependence on foreign workers; the state has used a variety of incentives to encourage industries to use higher wage Japanese labor or to make work less labor intensive rather than to import foreigners. (There are, of course, many ethnic minorities subsumed within the label Japanese, e.g. the Okinowans.)There is, however, one significant minority of recent foreign origin in Japan: the Koreans, long nationalist in response to harsh Japanese discrimination.
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