The Ethics of Exploitation


  • Paul McLaughlin University of Tartu



exploitation, Marxism, justice


Philosophical inquiry into exploitation has two major deficiencies to date: it assumes that exploitation is wrong by definition; and it pays too much attention to the Marxian account of exploitation. Two senses of exploitation should be distinguished: the 'moral' or pejorative sense and the 'non-moral' or 'non-prejudicial' sense. By demonstrating the conceptual inadequacy of exploitation as defined in the first sense, and by defining exploitation adequately in the latter sense, we seek to demonstrate the moral complexity of exploitation. We contend, moreover, that moral evaluation of exploitation is only possible once we abandon a strictly Marxian framework and attempt, in the long run, to develop an integral ethic along Godwinian lines.


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Author Biography

Paul McLaughlin, University of Tartu

Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy


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How to Cite

McLaughlin, P. (2008). The Ethics of Exploitation. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 1(3), 5–16.