Capitalist Exploitation, Self-Ownership, and Equality

Philosophical Forum 32 (3):207–220 (2001)
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Abstract

Traditional Marxists hold that capitalist modes of production are unjustly exploitative. In 'Self-Ownership, Freedom and Equality' G. A. Cohen argues that this ``exploitation charge'' commits traditional Marxists to the thesis that people own themselves (``self-ownership''). If so, then traditional Marxism is vulnerable to a libertarian challenge to its commitment to equality. Cohen, therefore, recommends that Marxists abandon the exploitation charge. This paper undermines Cohen's case for the alleged link between the exploitation charge and self-ownership primarily by defending an account of the exploitation charge that does not involve self-ownership or compromise the Marxist commitment to equality.

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Author Profiles

Darrel Frank Moellendorf
Goethe University Frankfurt
Michael Pendlebury
North Carolina State University

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