the act of treating one's workers unfairly for one's own benefit
Exploitation is the use of a person or resource for one’s own advantage.
- The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors.
- Winnie Byanyima, as quoted in Richest 1 percent bagged 82 percent of wealth created last year - poorest half of humanity got nothing, Oxfam International (22 January 2018)
- Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term "free market" in an equivocal sense: they seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. So we get the standard boilerplate article arguing that the rich can’t get rich at the expense of the poor, because "that’s not how the free market works"—implicitly assuming that this is a free market. When prodded, they’ll grudgingly admit that the present system is not a free market, and that it includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations.
- Kevin Carson, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy (2007), Chapter 4
- The only difference as compared with the old, outspoken slavery is this, that the worker of today seems to be free because he is not sold once for all, but piecemeal by the day, the week, the year, and because no one owner sells him to another, but he is forced to sell himself in this way instead, being the slave of no particular person, but of the whole property-holding class.
- Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, pp. 114-115
- Ever since the dissolution of the primaeval communal ownership of land, all history has been a history of class struggles, of struggles between exploited and exploiting, between dominated and dominating classes.
- Efficient exploitation requires that those exploited be relatively mobile, self-animating and self-maintaining—the more so as the work in question requires greater intelligence, attention or ingenuity. But it also requires that they not be free enough, strong enough or willful enough to resist, escape or significantly misfit the situation of exploitation.
- Marilyn Frye, The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory (1983), p. 59
- Efficient exploitation of “human resources” requires that the structures that refer the others’ actions to the exploiter’s ends must extend beneath the victim’s skin. The exploiter has to bring about the partial disintegration and re(mis)integration of the others’ matter, parts and properties so that as organized systems the exploited are oriented to some degree by habits, skills, schedules, values and tastes to the exploiter’s ends rather than, as they would otherwise be, to ends of their own. In particular, the manipulations which adapt the exploited to a niche in another’s economy must accomplish a great reduction of the victim’s intolerance of coercion.
- Marilyn Frye, The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory (1983), p. 60
- What the exploiter needs is that the will and intelligence of the victim be disengaged from the projects of resistance and escape but that they not be simply broken or destroyed. Ideally, the dis-integration and mis-integration of the victim should accomplish the detachment of the victim's will and intelligence from the victim’s own interests and their attachment to the interests of the exploiter. This will effect a displacement or dissolution of self-respect and will undermine the victim’s intolerance of coercion. With that, the situation transcends the initial paradigmatic form or structure of coercion; for if people don’t mind doing what you want them to do, then, in a sense, you can’t really be making them do it. In the limiting case, the victim’s will and intelligence are wholly transferred to a full engagement in the pursuit of the dominating person’s interests. The “problem” had been that there were two parties with divergent interests; this sort of solution (which is very elegant, as that word is used in logic) is to erase the conflict by reducing the number of interested parties to one. This radical solution can properly be called “enslavement.”
- Marilyn Frye, The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory (1983), p. 60
- The problem of ideology ... has especially to do with the concepts and the languages of practical thought which stabilize a particular form of power and domination; or which reconcile and accommodate the mass of the people to their subordinate place in the social formation.
- The Lord enters into judgment
- against the elders and leaders of his people:
- “It is you who have ruined my vineyard;
- the plunder from the poor is in your houses.
- What do you mean by crushing my people
- and grinding the faces of the poor?”
- They shall build houses and inhabit them;
- they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
- They shall not build and another inhabit;
- they shall not plant and another eat.
- Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
- No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.
- When our pauper was rich, did he perform any of the useful social functions we've just mentioned simply by spending his money? Though he may have appeared to belong to the ruling class, surely in fact he was neither ruling, nor serving society in any other way; he was merely a consumer of goods. ... Don't you think we can fairly call him a drone? He grows up in his own home to be a plague to the community, just as a drone grows in its cell to be a plague to the hive.
- In a market-based labor contract, there is no exploitation. People come to agreement based on their own perceptions of mutual benefit.
- In process of time, the robber, or slaveholding, class—who had seized all the lands, and held all the means of creating wealth—began to discover that the easiest mode of managing their slaves, and making them profitable, was not for each slaveholder to hold his specified number of slaves, as he had done before, and as he would hold so many cattle, but to give them so much liberty as would throw upon themselves (the slaves) the responsibility of their own subsistence, and yet compel them to sell their labor to the land-holding class—their former owners—for just what the latter might choose to give them. Of course, these liberated slaves, as some have erroneously called them, having no lands, or other property, and no means of obtaining an independent subsistence, had no alternative—to save themselves from starvation—but to sell their labor to the landholders, in exchange only for the coarsest necessaries of life; not always for so much even as that.
- Lysander Spooner, Natural Law, or the Science of Justice (1882), Chapter 3, Section 3
- Condemning a man to machine-like labor amounts to the same thing as slavery. If a factory worker must tire himself to death twelve hours and more, he is cut off from becoming man. Every labor is to have the intent that the man be satisfied. Therefore he must become a master in it too, be able to perform it as a totality. He who in a pin-factory only puts on the heads, only draws the wire, works, as it were, mechanically, like a machine; he remains half-trained, does not become a master: his labor cannot satisfy him, it can only fatigue him. His labor is nothing taken by itself, has no object in itself, is nothing complete in itself; he labors only into another’s hands and is used (exploited) by this other. For this laborer in another’s service there is no enjoyment of a cultivated mind, at most crude amusements: culture, you see, is barred against him.
- Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own, ed. David Leopold (Cambridge: 1995), p. 108