[OPE-L:3958] Re: Critiquing exploitation

Stephen Cullenberg (Stephen.Cullenberg@ucr.edu)
Fri, 10 Jan 1997 08:53:20 -0800 (PST)

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Thanks Gil, Patrick and Jerry for your suggestions. It is interesting that
with the exception of Patrick's suggestion of looking at Samuelson's famous
claim that it doesn' matter if capital hires labor or labor hires capital
in a GE setting, all of the suggestions were authors who are or were
Marxists. We read Roemer's and some of van Parijs's work in my Marxian
economics class. But what I am looking for, and my student as well, are
thoughtful, contemporary responses by neoclassicals to the Marxian argument
that profit represents unpaid labor, and therefore a fundamental ethical
critique of capitalism. Nozick of course is a source as well, but he is
not an economist.

I remember Steve Resnick (who was a student of Samuelson's at MIT in the
early 60s) telling me in grad school that Samuelson understood well the
power of the Marxian theory of profit as a fundamental challenge to
neoclassical "parabels" and that was in part why he was so concerned to
write about it, and dismiss it. Let me put the question slightly
differently: Do neoclassical economists accept the fundamental Marxian
theorem that the rate of profit is positive iff the reate of exploitation
is positive? If not, why not?

Steve C.

p.s. Jerry, I'll say a few things about the RM conference laer when I get
a chance. Your "friend" Louis P. figures prominently there as well.
Thanks for asking.

>Hi, Steve. I'd have the grad student start with Roemer's article "Should
>Marxists be interested in exploitation?", printed as Ch. 13 in the Cambridge
>U Press volume ANALYTICAL MARXISM. He can go from there to Roemer's book, A
>GENERAL THEORY OF EXPLOITATION AND CLASS, if he wants to see the technical
>details. Gil
>>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?
>>Steve C.
>>Stephen Cullenberg office: (909) 787-5037, ext. 1573
>>Department of Economics fax: (909) 787-5685
>>University of California Stephen.Cullenberg@ucr.edu
>>Riverside, CA 92521

Stephen Cullenberg office: (909) 787-5037, ext. 1573
Department of Economics fax: (909) 787-5685
University of California Stephen.Cullenberg@ucr.edu
Riverside, CA 92521