No SDES-2017-12
Title One million miles to go: taking the axiomatic road to defining exploitation
Author Roberto Veneziani and Naoki Yoshihara
Abstract This paper analyses the Marxian theory of exploitation. The axiomatic approach standard in social choice theory is adopted in order to study the concept of exploitation - what it is and how it should be captured empirically. Two properties are presented that capture some fundamental Marxian insights. It is shown that, contrary to the received view, there exists a nonempty class of definitions of exploitation that preserve the relation between exploitation and profits - called Profit-Exploitation Correspondence Principle - in general economies with heterogeneous agents, complex class structures, and production technologies with heterogeneous labour inputs. However, among the main approaches, only the so-called ‘New Interpretation’ satisfies the Profit-Exploitation Correspondence Principle in general.
Revised version published in Cambridge Journal of Economics