Exploit this!

Posted: 29 June 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Joseph Stiglitz raises the issue of exploitation in a recent interview with Lynn Parramore:

Lynn Parramore: An argument has been made, particularly since the end of the Cold War, that capitalism is great at producing things that can improve our lives, and so we ought to therefore tolerate some unfairness. What’s wrong with that narrative?

Joseph Stiglitz: Well, capitalism does have a lot of strengths, including producing things that are very innovative. But what drives capitalism is the profit motive. You can profit not only by making good things, but also by exploiting people, by exploiting the environment, by doing things that are not so good. The narrative that you describe ignores the extent to which a lot of the inequalities in the United States are not the result of creative activity but of exploitive activity.

OK, Stiglitz is not really invoking a Marxian notion of exploitation (whereby the surplus is appropriated by a class other than the one that creates it). But it is interesting that, in trying to make sense of the causes and consequences of the grotesque levels of inequality in the United States, Stiglitz does find it useful to rely on some notion of exploitation.

  1. Magpie says:


    On the subject of exploitation in the US from a non-Marxist perspective, Sarah Jaffe’s “Corporate Profits at All-Time High; Wages at All-Time Low: Can We Call it Class War Yet?” is not too bad at all.

    And, as you like charts, the article comes in very handy, too: it links to some very telling charts

    Find it here: http://www.alternet.org/news/156042/corporate_profits_at_all-time_high;_wages_at_all-time_low:_can_we_call_it_class_war_yet?


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