Cynthia Estlund on Labor in China


China’s massive labor surplus has been vital to its rapid economic development. For decades, China’s rural population has been migrating to take up low-wage jobs in the coastal regions, often in dire conditions. The exploitation of cheap labor has helped China become the world’s factory. However, as China’s labor surplus is running out, the position of workers is changing. In A New Deal for China’s Workers, New York University’s Cynthia Estlund examines the evolution of workers’ rights and protests in China. Drawing a comparison with the struggle of workers to attain more rights in the US, Estlund asks whether China’s workers will succeed in securing a New Deal with Chinese characteristics.