The Abstract for My Rethinking Marxism 2009 Panel Presentation


Bridging the Gap: From Exploitation and Alienation to Equity and Participation


One of Marxism’s defining hallmarks has always been to highlight the actually existing economic crisis characterizing employment relations between labor and capital rather than, as mainstream economists do, sound the alarm only when crisis hits the surplus value accumulated by capitalists. This presentation argues that, if surplus value is created by the exploitation of scarce human and natural resources, then labor faces the problem of not only being subordinate to its highest bidder, but of also being removed from control over its product, purpose, and therefore also the surplus extracted from it – a problem requiring a proposal for economic justice based on onerousness, duration, and intensity of labor that is more compatible with the higher aims of Marxism’s remunerative goal of “to each according to need” than with the norm of “from each according to contribution.” Implicit in this argument is a reorganization of productive relations where workers and consumers themselves and to the degree they are affected by an economic decision, instead of capitalists or managers, determine the means and ends to which their productive labor and the surplus it generates is directed to.


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