14 fevereiro, 2012

Domestic Labor: The servant problem

Britain in the early 20th century and Brazil in the early 21st have in common an issue that infuriates the rich, empowers the poor and delights dramatists

Gaping income inequalities; limited education for the masses; a long tradition of domestic service: Brazil at the turn of the 21st century bore striking similarities to 1880s Britain. But in the past decade Brazil’s professional classes have burgeoned and a lower-middle class—25m new consumers—has sprung into being. Most Brazilian children now go to secondary school and the country’s north-east, long its poorest region, has become its fastest-growing.
As a result, many maids from the north-east who migrated in past decades to the richer southern cities are downing dusters and heading home. Quite a few are mixing cement and driving forklift trucks on the big infrastructure projects peppered around the region. Research by IPEA, a government-funded think-tank, found that across Brazil the proportion of domestic staff aged over 30 rose from 57% to 73% of the total over the past decade. In the past four years the workforce in São Paulo’s metropolitan area rose by 11% and average wages by 8%. But the number of domestics fell by 4%—and their wages rose by 21%.

Fonte: The Economist, 17/12/2011 (Sugestão de Rafael H. M. Pereira)


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