Written from 1999 onwards, these essays focus on labour at the bottom of the rural economy, lacking social, economic, and political wherewithal, and their struggles to find a foothold in the urban economy. The author draws on his extensive fieldwork from India, Indonesia, and China. The volume demonstrates that this extremely vulnerable group is largely excluded from a life of dignity, stability, and decent work and the recent policies of globalization have only worsened their prospects of escape from this wretched existence. This book is crucial to the debates about labour and development studies in the current climate of globalization. It raises and answers important questions pertaining to the dynamics of life and work at the lower rungs of society.