Wage Exploitation as Disequilibrium Price

Business Ethics Quarterly 1:1-25 (2021)
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There are two opposing views concerning intuitive cases of wage exploitation. The first denies that they are cases of exploitation at all. It is based on the nonworseness claim: there is nothing wrong with a discretionary mutually beneficial employment relationship. The second is the reasonable view: some employment relationships can be exploitative even if employers have no duty towards their employees. This article argues that the reasonable view does not completely defeat defences of wage exploitation, because these do not rely solely on the nonworseness claim. They also rely on the idea, popularised by Alan Wertheimer, that exploitation is a form of disequilibrium price occurring in defective markets. The article then proceeds to criticise Wertheimer’s account through neoclassical, new institutional, and Austrian economics. It concludes that considerations for economic efficiency are irrelevant to assessing intuitions regarding exploitation.



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Stanislas Richard
University of Victoria

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References found in this work

Essays in Positive Economics.Milton Friedman - 1953 - University of Chicago Press.
Inequality Reexamined.Amartya Sen - 1927 - Oxford University Press UK.
Exploitation.Alan Wertheimer - 1996 - Princeton University Press.

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