The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 105–120 | Cite as

Marx and Exploitation

  • Jonathan Wolff


The discussion of the adequacy of Karl Marx's definition of exploitation has paid insufficient attention to a prior question: what is a definition? Once we understand Marx as offering a “reference-fixing definition in a model” we will realise that it is resistant to certain objections. A more general analysis of exploitation is offered here and it is suggested that Marx's own definition is a particular instance of the general analysis which makes a number of controversial moral assumptions.

coercion definition exploitation exploitation of circumstances Marx vulnerability 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Wolff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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