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Marx's Equalized Rate of Exploitation

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  • Jonathan F. Cogliano

Abstract

Marx assumes a uniform rate of exploitation throughout Capital, yet the theoretical basis for this assumption and its role in his theory of value are not well understood in the existing literature. This paper shows that Marx assumed a tendentially equalized rate of exploitation to be the outcome of labor mobility, and that he viewed this as a general tendency of capitalist economies. Marx draws extensively on Adam Smith to support his views on labor mobility and the equalized rate of exploitation. The close connection between Smith and Marx on notions of labor mobility is examined here. Understanding the role of labor mobility and the equalized rate of exploitation in Marx’s work holds implications for contemporary approaches to classical-Marxian price and value theory and supports the view that Marx’s theory of value is, in the most general sense, a theory of the allocation of social labor.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan F. Cogliano, 2021. "Marx's Equalized Rate of Exploitation," Working Papers 2021-01, University of Massachusetts Boston, Economics Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:mab:wpaper:2021-01
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adam Smith; Karl Marx; Labor Mobility; Long-Period Method; Rate of Exploitation.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B14 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist
    • B24 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist; Scraffian
    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian
    • C67 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Input-Output Models
    • D46 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Value Theory
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies

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