Professor Genevieve LeBaron Inaugural Lecture

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Lecture Theatre 6, The Diamond

32 Leavygreave Road

The University of Sheffield

Sheffield

S3 7RD

United Kingdom

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Capitalism and Modern Slavery - Professor Genevieve LeBaron Inaugural Lecture

About this Event

For over 200 years economic theory has predicted that capitalism will eradicate slavery, but this hasn’t happened. Today, forced labour and other modern forms of slavery are thriving in global supply chains and even across the UK. What does this tell us about how the economy works? And what do political economists need to understand about unfree labour, in order to understand capitalism?

In this lecture, Genevieve will present her work from over the last decade to understand the role, nature, and value of forced labour in the capitalist economy. She will draw on and synthesize findings from her research on US prison labour; analysis of the UK construction, food, and cannabis industries; and her Global Business of Forced Labour project to reflect on contemporary dynamics of forced labour and unfree labour.

By challenging economic theories that present capitalist labour markets as consisting of contractual exchange amongst free individuals, she will argue that patterns of capitalist profitability are in fact highly dependent on bondage, unfreedom, and coercion – especially for women and girls, migrants, indigenous people, people of colour, and racial and ethnic minorities. Large swathes of political economy scholarship continues to embrace conceptions of labour and workers’ rights grounded in the ideal type of the white male factory worker, but – now more than ever – this is misleading and flawed. Political economists need to acknowledge unfree labour, and the racial and gendered oppression through which it is enacted, if they are to properly understand how the labour market works – and prospects for transforming it—in the 21st century.

Genevieve will be introduced by Professor Tony Payne, SPERI, and the event will be moderated by Professor Andrew Crane, University of Bath.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

Biography

Genevieve LeBaron is Professor of Politics and Co-Director of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI). She is an award-winning expert on the business of forced labour and labour exploitation in the global economy, corporate power, and global supply chains. Her new book, Combatting Modern Slavery: Why Labour Governance is Broken and How We Can Fix It is forthcoming with Polity.

Date and Time

Location

Lecture Theatre 6, The Diamond

32 Leavygreave Road

The University of Sheffield

Sheffield

S3 7RD

United Kingdom

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