How can exploitation—in the sense of taking advantage of other people—occur in market settings? Marx understood exploitation in terms of unilateral transfers of value. Steiner and Roemer understand it in terms of exchanges made against the background of an unjust distribution of resources. In opposition to these views, it is argued that exploitative transactions are exchanges made at non‐equilibrium prices, due to asymmetries of information or of bargaining power. This view of exploitation allows us to understand why capitalism is inherently exploitative, whereas under market socialism, exploitation would only occur in specific circumstances.
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