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Exploitation, inequality, and power

Listed author(s):
  • Veneziani, Roberto

The concept of exploitation is central in social and political theory, but there is no precise, widely accepted definition. This paper analyses John Roemer’s seminal theory, which construes exploitation as a distributive injustice arising from asset inequalities, with no reference to notions of power or dominance. First, an intertemporal generalisation of Roemer’s static economies is set up and several doubts are raised on the claim that exploitation can be reduced to a kind of resource egalitarianism. Then, Roemer’s philosophical arguments that exploitation should be defined as a merely distributive concept are also questioned and it is argued that a notion of power, or dominance, is an essential part of the definition of exploitation. Finally, Roemer’s path-breaking methodological claim that standard general equilibrium models can provide robust microfoundations to exploitation and classes is critically analysed.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 30288.

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Date of creation: 2008
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:30288
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  1. Skillman, Gilbert L., 1995. "Ne Hic Saltaveris: The Marxian Theory of Exploitation After Roemer," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 309-331, October.
  2. Roemer,John E., 1997. "Egalitarian Perspectives," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521574457, December.
  3. Veneziani, Roberto, 2007. "Exploitation and time," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 189-207, January.
  4. Naoki Yoshihara, 1998. "Wealth, Exploitation and Labor Discipline in the Contemporary Capitalist Economy," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 23-61, February.
  5. Veneziani, Roberto, 2006. "A future for (analytical) Marxism?," MPRA Paper 30864, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Duncan K. Foley, 1989. "Roemer On Marx On Exploitation," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 187-199, July.
  7. Roemer, John, 1992. "What Walrasian Marxism Can and Cannot Do," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 149-156, April.
  8. John E. Roemer & Roberto Veneziani, 2001. "What We Owe Our Children, They Their Children,..," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1326, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Jonathan P. Goldstein, 2006. "Marxian Microfoundations: Contribution or Detour?," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 569-594, December.
  10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:01:p:83-96_20 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Alan Carling, 1997. "Analytical and Essential Marxism," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 45(4), pages 768-783, September.
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