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KCI등재후보 학술저널

Inequality of Safety and RISK in Korea: Unstable Workers at Risk

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Purpose: This paper focuses on the microscopical and qualitative evolution of the mode of capital accumulation by the capitalist system based on market expansion. It will discuss how ‘the changed’ conditions surrounding humans in 21st century capitalism are fundamentally inconsistent with the essentially ‘unchanging’ needs for human safety, and ultimately how this is regressing the discussion of human nature.To this end, this paper attempts to examine the following questions: First, who enjoy the right to security that is in touch with the essential human needs, or who are the main exposure to danger? Second,how does the inequality of wealth lead to the inequality of risk? Method: To investigate the above research questions this study focuses on the number of industrial accident deaths in Korea, which is more than twice the number of deaths from Corona 19, and analyzes who are more at risk. To this end, the Ministry of Employment and Labor s industrial accident statistics were used to analyze which workers are more exposed to risk.Based on this objective data showing the level of inequality of risk, this study tries to interpret qualitatively the fundamental reasons for it from the critical perspective of capitalistic accumulation. Results: The need for safety is an essential trait for all human beings, but it is always changed and refracted according to social and class conditions. That is, the reality proves very well that safety is commercialized and that members of society are in an unfavorable situation with regard to risk. Risk inequality is multiply structured between developed and developing countries, primary and subcontracted firms, and regular and nonregular workers. Developed countries and subcontractors are trying to pay safety costs at a lower price through outsourcing of risks rather than internal investment in safety, and in the end, it is workers engaged in unstable labor that bear this outsourcing risk. Conclusion: The intrinsic need for safety is the same for everyone and therefore for all workers.However, if safety is not distributed fairly and only some people can be exposed to danger, workers who can purchase safety based on a stable material base will want to avoid the risk as far aspossible. The veto power to avoid exposure to risk in a commodified capitalist system of safety can only be exercised on a stable material basis.On the other hand, unstable workers with weak material bases have low bargaining power to reject risks and instead have high dependence on market income. Therefore, in order to secure safety, market income must be earned even at the expense of safety rather than the ability to pay the price of safety.

1. Introduction

2. Analysis of the Inequality of Risk in Korea

3. Commodified and Unstable Labor

4. Fictious Commodification of Human Safety

5. Conclusion

6. References

7. Appendix

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