From today's Economic Times
CALL it the return of imperialism or new colonialism. Indian BPOs are being arm-twisted by their foreign clients into signing irrationally harsh contracts which have zero termination notice periods or notice periods as short as 30 days. Modus operandi: if you won’t accept your rival will.Should we be surprised? This has indeed been the modus operandi for a long time, and indeed the main driving force behind the 'new' industrial strategies premised on the progressive dismantling of regulation. Initially this affected workers in sectors such as textiles, and slowly has spread and continues to spread to other industries. Interestingly, the various objections to such dismantling had been voiced by many social actors in the Global South, but were summarily dismissed by both their own governments and international institutions. Competitive deregulation was then the panacea for all developmental ills, and threat was exactly the one mentioned above: if you cannot provide the deregulated structure we seek, your rival will. However, when the 'race' got to the point where those deregulated structures began to attract jobs which once belonged to the middle classes in the West, "race to the bottom' emerged as an important part of the global discourse. The tide then turned quite dramatically: with a rising demand that labour and environmental standards must be reimposed on Southern countries, else we (the West or the North) must refuse to do business with them.
The truth is that both the North and South are harmed by the dismantling of regulation if it are not carefully planned. While the dismantling of some regulation is beneficial, some forms of regulation may indeed be necessary to guarantee certain social and economic rights. Neither are the "North" and "South" monoliths, their interests are neither completely compatible, nor thorouhgly irreconcilable. Finally, the choice between "development" and "deregulation" is indeed a false one.