Written by Svetlana Dotsenko
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Last summer, Brianna Beswick received the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Grant and support from the Harvard College Research Project to fund her research in Argentina. In the late 20th century in Argentina, social reforms involving labor and immigration were instituted amid the overwhelming economic crisis, a surprising combination when one considers that marginalized populations are often put at the bottom of the to do list during a crisis.
Beswick, while interviewing domestic workers about their day to day lives, uncovered the fact that social reform policies can have positive social as well as economic implications, and can in fact be spurred by economic woes, rather than hindered by them. By formalizing the labor market in Argentina, the government was able to simultaneously support the rights of immigrant workers while increasing tax revenue to stimulate the economy. Such reforms, while seemingly counterintuitive to economic growth, could be applied any number of marginalized populations around the world to change the way governments think about social reforms.