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Objectivist versus Subjectivist Approaches to the Marxian Theory of Exploitation


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  • Veneziani, Roberto
  • Yoshihara, Naoki


This paper analyses two central issues in exploitation theory. First, the appropriate definition of individual and aggregate measures of exploitation is discussed. Second, the relation between profits and exploitation (the so-called Fundamental Marxian Theorem) is analysed. A general framework for the analysis of exploitation in the context of convex cone economies is proposed and various alternative equilibrium concepts are discussed. The limits of subjectivist approaches to exploitation, which crucially depend on agents' preferences, are shown. An objectivist approach to exploitation, which is related to the socalled 'New Interpretation' (Dumenil, 1980; Foley, 1982) is proposed. It is argued that it captures the core intuitions of exploitation theory and that it provides appropriate indices of individual and aggregate exploitation. Further, it is shown that it preserves the Fundamental Marxian Theorem in general economies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Discussion Paper Series with number a514.

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Length: 30, 2 p.
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hit:hituec:a514

Note: First Version, November 2008; This Version, February 2009
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Keywords: Exploitation; Fundamental Marxian Theorem; general convex cone economies;

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Cited by:
  1. Veneziani, Roberto & Yoshihara, Naoki, 2009. "Strong Subjectivism in the Marxian Theory of Exploitation: A Critique," Discussion Paper Series a523, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.


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