Exploitation and the class struggle
This paper contributes to our understanding of the determinants and dynamics of Marxian exploitation using quarterly UK data, 1955-2008. Initially a simple model is introduced for the purpose of defining exploitation and its component parts, before elaborating on theoretical issues which are important in estimating the rate of exploitation. In the empirical analysis we seek to explain the effect of class struggle, for the UK economy, using quarterly data. Attention is paid to three forces which are traditionally seen as drivers of power in the class struggle: (i) political party; (ii) the size of the “reserve army” of the unemployed; (iii) working class militancy. Our results suggest a positive impact of unemployment on the rate of exploitation, and that growing working class militancy tends to diminish the rate. Changes in political party affect the rate of exploitation in a counter-intuitive way, with a positive short-run relationship between the rate and movements to left-wing government.
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