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Objectivist versus Subjectivist Approaches to the Marxian Theory of Exploitation


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Veneziani, Roberto & Yoshihara, Naoki, 2009. "Objectivist versus Subjectivist Approaches to the Marxian Theory of Exploitation," Discussion Paper Series a514, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:hituec:a514
    Note: First Version, November 2008; This Version, February 2009

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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Veneziani & Naoki Yoshihara, 2011. "Strong Subjectivism In The Marxian Theory Of Exploitation: A Critique," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 53-68, February.

    More about this item


    Exploitation; Fundamental Marxian Theorem; general convex cone economies;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D46 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Value Theory
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • E11 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Marxian; Sraffian; Kaleckian
    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian


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