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industrial reserve army

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.

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