Hong Kong’s Precarious Young Workers and Contradictions of Capital

Kaxton Siu*, Shuheng Jin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mechanisms to control Hong Kong’s young workers are embedded in inadequate labour protections within the government’s social welfare system and in prevalent informalization workplace practices. This article maintains that these control mechanisms have their origins in Hong Kong’s colonial era. Following Harvey, we argue that these control mechanisms are expressions of contradictions of capital in production and reproduction spheres. We identify the foundational and moving contradictions of capital expressed in Hong Kong’s lack of social welfare and employment protections, commodification of education, speculation in the housing market, patterns of work casualization and technology-induced labour-saving strategies, leading to precarity and everyday distress among young workers. New control mechanisms and contradictions of capital notwithstanding, this article highlights experiments to create spaces of resistance by Hong Kong’s young working classes in the hope of resisting the increasing degradation of their everyday living standards.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Sociology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • contradictions of capital
  • Hong Kong
  • precarious young worker
  • spatial–temporal fixes
  • state

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