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Since its first publication in 1987, this book has been reprinted several times and translated into several languages. This new Kindle version has been updated for 2023. In his new introduction to this edition the author links his arguments to the contemporary period of neo-liberalism and to the concept of 'the precariat'. The New Helots is a wide-ranging work of comparative and historical sociology, in which Robin Cohen argues that a major engine for the growth of capitalism lies in the employers' ability to find successive cohorts of quasi-free or unfree workers to deploy in the lands, mines and factories of an expanding international division of labour.

These workers, like the helots of ancient Greece, are found at the periphery of 'regional political economies' or, in the form of modern migrants, sucked into the vortex of the metropolitan service or manufacturing industries. The regions of southern Africa; the USA and circum-Caribbean; Europe and its colonial and southern hinterlands, are systematically compared – yielding original and, in some case uncomfortable analogies between countries previously thought to be wholly different in terms of their political structures and guiding values.

Though it presents a challenging thesis, The New Helots has been written with both an undergraduate and professional readership in mind. Students of history, sociology and economics as well as those interested in patterns of migration and ethnic relations will all find something to disturb conventional wisdom found in their fields.

ISBN: 978 1 7397846 3 8 (Kindle)

RRP: £3.99

Available from Amazon