Introduction: Labour Export in Theory and in Southern Africa

  • Bill Paton


It is a peculiar thing that a person should be electrocuted for crossing a fence to go to work, yet that is exactly what has happened to many labour migrants in Southern Africa.1 A century ago, today’s states did not yet exist in the region, and most territories possessed only fledgling administrations. The European men in their small colonial buildings lacked much capacity to even control border-crossing migrants, let alone electrocute them. Today we see their descendants — a mutually exclusive system of formally self-determining states with their own armies and currencies, and with more and more rigid control over people’s movements among them. Worldwide, the legal barriers to the passage of the majority of migrants and travellers continue to thicken, with industrialised states clutching at legal straws and quickening the pace in their game of human ‘hot potato’.


Labour Supply Labour Migration Labour Power Foreign Labourer South African Government 
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Copyright information

© Bill Paton 1995

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  • Bill Paton

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