Exploitation of labour

Exploitation of labour is a concept defined as, in its broadest sense, one agent taking unfair advantage of another agent.[1] Marxists state it as a social relationship based on an asymmetry of power between workers and their employers. When speaking about exploitation, there is a direct affiliation with consumption in social theory and traditionally this would label exploitation as unfairly taking advantage of another person because of their inferior position, giving the exploiter the power.[2]

Karl Marx's theory of exploitation has been described in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as the most influential theory of exploitation.[1] In analyzing exploitation, economists are split on the explanation of the exploitation of labour given by Marx and Adam Smith. Smith did not see exploitation as an inherent systematic phenomenon in specific economic systems as Marx did, but rather as an optional moral injustice.[3]