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Exploitation as the Unequal Exchange of Labour: An Axiomatic Approach

  • Naoki Yoshihara


    (Hitotsubashi University)

  • Roberto Veneziani


    (Queen Mary, University of London)

In subsistence economies with general convex technology and rational optimising agents, a new, axiomatic approach is developed, which allows an explicit analysis of the core positive and normative intuitions behind the concept of exploitation. Three main new axioms, called Labour Exploitation in Subsistence Economies , Relational Exploitation , and Feasibility of Non-Exploitation , are presented and it is proved that they uniquely characterise a definition of exploitation conceptually related to the so-called "New-Interpretation" (Dum�nil, 1980; Foley, 1982; Dum�nil at el., 2009), which focuses on the unequal distribution of (and control over) social labour, and on individual well-being freedom and the self-realisation of men. Then, the main results of Roemer's (1982, 1988) classical approach and all the crucial insights of exploitation theory are generalised, proving that every agent's class and exploitation status emerges in the competitive equilibrium, that there is a correspondence between an agent's class and exploitation status, and that the existence of exploitation is inherently linked to the existence of positive profits.

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Paper provided by Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 655.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp655
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  1. Veneziani, Roberto & Yoshihara, Naoki, 2009. "Strong Subjectivism in the Marxian Theory of Exploitation: A Critique," CCES Discussion Paper Series 21, Center for Research on Contemporary Economic Systems, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Yoshihara, N., 1996. "Wealth, Exploitation and Labor Discipline in the Contemporary Capitalist Economy," ISER Discussion Paper 0405, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  3. Simon Mohun, 2004. "The Labour Theory of Value as Foundation for Empirical Investigations," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 65-95, 02.
  4. Reiko Gotoh & Naoki Yoshihara, 2003. "A class of fair distribution rules à la Rawls and Sen," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 63-88, 08.
  5. Veneziani, Roberto, 2008. "Exploitation, inequality, and power," MPRA Paper 30288, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Gérard Duménil & Duncan Foley & Dominique Lévy, 2009. "A Note On The Formal Treatment Of Exploitation In A Model With Heterogenous Labor," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 560-567, 07.
  7. Yoshihara, Naoki, 2007. "Class and Exploitation in General Convex Cone Economies," Discussion Paper Series a489, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  8. Veneziani, Roberto, 2007. "Exploitation and time," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 189-207, January.
  9. 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.
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