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Labor Value and Exploitation in the Global Economy

Return of Marxian Macro-Dynamics in East Asia

ISBN: 978-1-78714-478-1, eISBN: 978-1-78714-477-4

ISSN: 0161-7230

Publication date: 8 August 2017


This paper discusses labor value and the rate of exploitation in the global economy using international input–output tables. Labor value is defined as the multiplication of the labor coefficient and Leontief inverse. Exploitation means that the amount of labor embodied in the received wage commodity is less than the amount of the labor actually sold. Therefore, the Fundamental Marxian Theorem, which states that the conditions for the existence of profit and those for the existence of exploitation are the same, should be modified to stipulate that the existence of profit requires exploitation in at least one country. In other words, exploitation may not exist in some countries (non-exploitation). In the context of international input–output tables, we introduce the concept of global labor value, which is the vector of embodied labor in various countries. In the empirical study using an international input–output table, we find that (1) there are non-exploitation cases in several countries. (2) During the time period 1995–2009, the rate of exploitation increased in Asian countries, namely China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, whereas the advanced countries other than Asia faced a decreased rate of exploitation.



Hagiwara, T. (2017), "Labor Value and Exploitation in the Global Economy", Return of Marxian Macro-Dynamics in East Asia (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 32), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 15-37.



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