Re: [OPE] exploitation theory

From: Philip Dunn <>
Date: Wed Dec 23 2009 - 16:28:16 EST

>From the paper:

"More specifically, this paper analyses the theory of exploitation as an
unequal exchange (hereafter, UE) of labour, according to which
exploitative relations are characterised by a difference between the
hours of labour that an individual provides and the hours of labour
necessary to produce commodities that she can purchase with her income."

There is inequality of hours here certainly but is there unequal

A worker sells some producer commodity (aka the commodity labour-power)
to the capitalist and with the money wages buys produced commodities.
These two transactions constitute an exchange, mediated by money.

It is only possible to speak of equal or unequal exchange if produced
commodities are commensurable in exchange with producer commodities,
i.e. if they have a common money measure of their value.

Marx went to some trouble to show the possibility of exploitation under
conditions of equal exchange (money a universal equivalent, the common
measure, no incongruity of price and value), even while there was
inequality of hours. In order to do this he determined the value of
labour-power by the value of the produced commodities required to
*reproduce* it. This value seems to be transferred to and embodied in
labour-power. Alternatively, within the new approach, Simon Mohun, to
cope with unequal exchange, denies that labour-power has a relative form
of value (no intrinsic value, understood as embodied labour value) and
says that the value of the money wage, the equivalent form, is to be
taken the value of labour-power.

The third way.

I am running out of steam (I have posted on this before) but I think it
is possible to avoid relying on unequal exchange for the possibility of
exploitation by admitting the possibility that that exchange can be
neither equal nor unequal. Exchange between produced commodities is
equal, exchange between producer commodities is equal but exchange
between the two is neither equal nor unequal.

On Wed, 2009-12-23 at 10:07 -0600, Jerry Levy wrote:
> Forwarded with permission of the sender.
> In solidarity, Jerry
> Dec 23, 2009 06:58:39 AM, wrote:
> Dear Gerald Levy
> my name is Roberto Veneziani and I am a lecturer at Queen Mary
> University of London. Among my research interests is Marxian economics
> and in particular exploitation theory. I have just completed a new
> paper, written jointly with Naoki Yoshihara (Hitotsubashi University),
> in which we provide the first axiomatic analysis of exploitation as
> the unequal exchange of labour, in the context of Roemer-type
> economies. Among other results (including a generalisation of Roemer's
> results), it turns out that the unique definition
> of exploitation satisfying a small set of (arguably) weak axioms is a
> definition
> conceptually related to the "New Interpretation", developed by Duncan
> Foley and Gerard Dumenil.
> I am taking the liberty to send you a link to our discussion paper.
> Any comments, suggestions, and criticisms are more than welcome. This
> is part of a major research project on exploitation theory, and any
> feedback from you would be particularly valuable.
> <>
> Best
> Roberto
> _______________________________________________
> ope mailing list

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Received on Wed Dec 23 16:31:19 2009

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