[OPE-L:3955] Re: Critiquing exploitation

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 9 Jan 1997 23:17:31 -0800 (PST)

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Steve C asked in [OPE-L:3954]:

> I have a graduate student who is writing a paper that includes a section
> where he argues why exploitation (capitalist) is bad. He was curious, and
> I couldn't help him much, whether there have been relatively recent (say,
> post WWII) sophisticated articles written by economists who have taken on
> the Marxian theory of unpaid labor. In other words, he's looking for the
> strongest case neoclassicals or others have made against Marxist theories
> of exploitation, as a normative or organizing concept.
> Can anyone help him and myself out with references and/or arguments? Or
> have neoclassicals basically ignored Marxist arguments after JB Clark?

I would refer the student to some of the writings of the Analytical
Marxists since answering that question seems to have been one of their
main concerns (or obsessions). In their books and articles there are
plenty of references to neoclassical sources that the student could then
look at. In particular, I would recommend Philippe Van Parijis's _Real
Freedom for All: What (if anything) can justify capitalism?_ (Oxford, OUP,
1995) and Ch. 5 of _Marxism Recycled_ (Cambridge, CUP, 1993). Similar
perspectives and sources can be found in John Roemer's _A General Theory
of Exploitation and Class_ (Cambridge, MS, Harvard University Press, 1982)
and _Egalitarian perspectives: Essays in philosophical economics_
(Cambridge, CUP, 1994).

So, what is your take on what happened at the Rethinking Marxism
conference in Amherst in early December? I suspect you don't share Andrew
K's accessment in #3838.

In solidarity, Jerry