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Exploitation and Productiveness: The Generalised Commodity Exploitation Theorem Once Again


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  • Veneziani, Roberto
  • Yoshihara, Naoki


In a recent contribution on this journal, Matsuo (2009) has provided an interesting argument to refute the Generalised Commodity Exploitation Theorem (GCET), by highlighting a potential asymmetry between labour and other commodities. In this paper, a novel characterisation of the relation between exploitation and productiveness that is at the heart of the GCET is proved. This result is interesting per se, because it is weaker and more general than the standard GCET. But, owing to the rigorous specification of all the relevant conditions, it also clarifies the structure of Matsuo’s argument, and its dubious theoretical features. It is also argued that, even if Matsuo’s formal argument were deemed convincing, a revised version of the GCET can be proved, which reinstates the symmetry between labour and other commodities in the standard Leontief setting.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Discussion Paper Series with number 550.

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Length: 24 p.
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hit:hituec:550

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Keywords: Value; Exploitation; Generalised Commodity Exploitation Theorem;

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  1. Yoshihara, Naoki & Veneziani, Roberto, 2009. "Commodity Content in a General Input-Output Model: A Comment," Discussion Paper Series a522, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Takao Fujimoto & Yukihiko Fujita, 2008. "A Refutation Of The Commodity Exploitation Theorem," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 530-540, 07.
  3. Kurz,Heinz D. & Salvadori,Neri, 1997. "Theory of Production," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521588676.
  4. Takao Fujimoto & Arrigo Opocher, 2010. "Commodity Content In A General Input-Output Model," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 442-453, 07.
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