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The Prosperity Paradox: Fewer and More Vulnerable Farm Workers

The Wilson Center was pleased to host a conversation on why farm labor problems do not disappear as the share of workers in agriculture shrinks and lays out policies and practices to improve protections for farm workers.

Date & Time

Thursday
Feb. 25, 2021
12:00pm – 1:30pm ET

Location

Online Only at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86535515083

Overview

Agenda

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Most of the world’s workers were employed in agriculture until the 20th century, when economic development in industrial countries pushed and pulled farmers and farm workers into nonfarm jobs, where wages are higher and jobs offer benefits that range from health insurance to pensions. Today, agriculture employs a quarter of the world’s 3.3 billion workers, including over half of persons employed in many developing countries.

Protecting hired farm workers is difficult because workers with little education are scattered across many farms that are often exempt from some labor laws. The Prosperity Paradox argues that the fewer farm workers who are employed in rich country agricultural systems are more vulnerable because the gaps between farm and nonfarm workers have widened. Most farm workers are local workers unable to find nonfarm jobs and migrants from poorer countries.

This seminar will explain why farm labor problems do not disappear as the share of workers in agriculture shrinks and lays out policies and practices to improve protections for farm workers. The most promising path to improve farm worker protections involves adapting the continuous monitoring and measurement of food safety systems to ensure that farm workers are protected effectively.

We are grateful to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the Walmart Foundation for their support of this project. 

For more information on the project, please visit the project on the following webpages: Wilson Center, Migration Dialogue, Jornaleros México


Agenda

Welcome
  • Andrew Rudman, Director, Mexico Institute
Presentation: The Prosperity Paradox
  • Philip Martin, Professor emeritus of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC-Davis
Stakeholder Reactions
  • Daniel Costa, Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute
  • Steven Greenhouse, Journalist; Former Labor Reporter, The New York Times
  • Christiane Kuptsch, Senior Specialist in Migration Policy, International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Roberto Suro, Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California

 

Cover - The Prosperity Paradox

The Prosperity Paradox: Fewer and More Vulnerable Farm Workers

Purchase the book, by Philip Martin, from Oxford University Press. Use code AAFLYG6 for a discount.

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Farm Labor and Mexico's Export Produce Industry

Learn more about our ongoing project, which analyzes production and employment systems in selected commodities that are exported from Mexico to the United States.

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Hosted By

Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more

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