NBn: Migrants for Export

By Christopher Patterson
NBn: New Books in Asian American Studies

Rodriguez_Migrants coverWhile it has become typical to see Filipina/o migrants working in nursing or domestic work in the United States, many are surprised to see Filipina/os doing the same work in Hong Kong, Israel, and Dubai. Indeed, Filipina/o workers are ubiquitous around the globe, and may be the world’s first truly global labor force. In Robyn Rodriguez‘s new book, Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Labor to the World (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), Rodriguez explores labor brokerage as a global capitalist strategy wherein the Philippine state mobilizes its citizens and sends them abroad to work for employers throughout the world while generating profit from the remittances that migrants send back to their families and loved ones remaining in the Philippines. Rodriguez traces this trend in Filipina/o overseas workers, which has become one of the largest labor export systems in the world. Ultimately, she questions how and why citizens from the Philippines have come to be the most globalized workforce on the planet, and argues that the reason for this lies in the emergence of the Philippine state as a labor brokerage state.

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