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Exploitation, Freedom, and Coercion: The Integration of Applied Behavior Analysis in a Capitalist System


As Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) continues to evolve within the capitalist healthcare system in the United States, it is important to understand the contingencies that promote freedom, democracy, and cooperation as well as the contingencies that promote greater exploitation, less freedom, and more coercion. Within this article, the concepts of exploitation, freedom, and coercion are defined and discussed with reference to the growing acquisition of businesses by private equity firms, along with the university setting. There is concerning literature regarding private equity firms’ impact on healthcare, as well as literature pointing to a deteriorating higher education system. Given this, we need to gather more information about the impact of these entities on our ability to provide quality healthcare and education with respect to Applied Behavior Analysis.

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Correspondence to Joshua Garner.

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Garner, J., Peal, A., Klapatch-Totsch, J. et al. Exploitation, Freedom, and Coercion: The Integration of Applied Behavior Analysis in a Capitalist System. Behav. Soc. Iss. 31, 174–189 (2022).

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  • Exploitation
  • Freedom
  • Coercion
  • Capitalism
  • Clinical and educational quality