Of Labour and Love; Exploring the Conditions of Debt Bondage

13 Nov 2019 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
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Japan Lecture Theatre
University House, Japan Lecture Theatre

Being in debt has become a normal condition in contemporary financialised capitalist economies. Student loans, mortgages, credit cards, consumer loans or pay day loans are common. The normalisation and prevalence of debt has produced what noted Italian Marxist theorist Maurizio Lazzarato terms as “indebted man”.

In Western economies, a market exists for debt and is managed by banks or other regulated lending institutions. In developing countries, in addition to the banks; local lenders, including employers or their intermediaries, not only serve the demand for debt, but use debt to create relations of dependence, producing not simply indebted people, but debt bonded labourers – a form of modern day slaves.

This seminar includes the first showing of a short film that recounts the life and conditions of two workers in Indian brick kilns who are bonded to the debt owed to their employers, local lenders and to grocers and shows the disciplinary effects of debt. It will be followed by a panel discussion that includes Sita Venkateswar, Andrew Dickson, Janet Sayers and Craig Prichard. The film will be introduced by its author and producer, Massey PhD student, Omer Nazir.

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