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Strong Subjectivism in the Marxian Theory of Exploitation: A Critique

Author

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  • Roberto Veneziani

    () (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Naoki Yoshihara

    () (Hitotsubashi University)

Abstract

This paper critically analyses the strongly subjectivist approach to exploitation theory recently proposed by Matsuo ([7]), in the context of general convex economies with heterogeneous agents. It is proved that the Fundamental Marxian Theorem is not preserved in his subjectivist approach, contrary to Matsuo's claims, and that no meaningful subjectivist exploitation index can be constructed. It is argued that a minimal objectivism is necessary in exploitation theory, whereby subjective preferences do not play a direct, definitional role. An alternative objectivist approach is briefly analysed, which is related to the 'New Interpretation' ([1]; [3]). It is argued that it captures the core intuitions of exploitation theory and it provides appropriate indices of individual and aggregate exploitation. Further, it is shown that it preserves the FMT in general economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Veneziani & Naoki Yoshihara, 2009. "Strong Subjectivism in the Marxian Theory of Exploitation: A Critique," Working Papers 654, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp654
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    File URL: http://www.econ.qmul.ac.uk/media/econ/research/workingpapers/archive/wp654.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Morishima, Michio, 1974. "Marx in the Light of Modern Economic Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 611-632, July.
    2. Yoshihara, Naoki, 2010. "Class and exploitation in general convex cone economies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 281-296, August.
    3. 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.
    4. Roberto Veneziani, 2004. "The Temporal Single-system Interpretation of Marx's Economics: A Critical Evaluation," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 96-114, February.
    5. Veneziani, Roberto, 2007. "Exploitation and time," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 189-207, January.
    6. Simon Mohun, 2004. "The Labour Theory of Value as Foundation for Empirical Investigations," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 65-95, February.
    7. Takao Fujimoto & Arrigo Opocher, 2010. "Commodity Content In A General Input-Output Model," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 442-453, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:sochwe:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00355-017-1062-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Yoshihara, Naoki & Veneziani, Roberto, 2009. "Exploitation as the Unequal Exchange of Labour : An Axiomatic Approach," Discussion Paper Series a524, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    3. Roberto Veneziani & Luca Zamparelli & Naoki Yoshihara, 2017. "A Progress Report On Marxian Economic Theory: On The Controversies In Exploitation Theory Since Okishio (1963)," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(5), pages 1421-1448, December.
    4. Roberto Veneziani & Naoki Yoshihara, 2017. "The theory of exploitation as the unequal exchange of labour," Working Papers 824, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    5. Peter Flaschel & Nils Fröhlich & Roberto Veneziani, 2013. "The sources of aggregate profitability: Marx's theory of surplus value revisited," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 10(3), pages 299—312-2, December.
    6. Roberto Veneziani & Naoki Yoshihara, 2010. "Exploitation and Profits: A General Axiomatic Approach in Convex Economies with Heterogeneous Agents," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2010-12, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    7. Veneziani, Roberto & Yoshihara, Naoki, 2016. "The Theory of Exploitation as the Unequal Exchange of Labour," Discussion Paper Series 652, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    8. Veneziani, Roberto & Yoshihara, Naoki, 2013. "Unequal Exchange, Assets, and Power: Recent Developments in Exploitation Theory," Discussion Paper Series 594, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    9. Roberto Veneziani & Naoki Yoshihara, 2017. "Globalisation and inequality in a dynamic economy: an axiomatic analysis of unequal exchange," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 49(3), pages 445-468, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Exploitation; Subjective preferences; 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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