industrial reserve army

This term derives from Karl Marx's writing and refers to a disadvantaged section of the proletariat . These workers perform two functions: to regulate wages by the implicit threat posed by available labour; and to supply labour for sudden expansions in production. As the reserve army decreases then wages increase-and vice versa. There has been considerable recent debate about the role of women as reserve labour. See also labour-market segmentation.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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