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February 25, 2018 

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WIDGET: A fictitious good commonly used by economic instructors to demonstrate economic principles or undertake hypothetical analyses. For example, the analysis of short-run production for a firm might be demonstrated through the production of widgets. Alternatively, the law of demand might be illustrated with a table or curve comparing the price of widgets with the quantity demanded of widgets. If such a good exists, and there is no clear evidence that widgets have every existed, it is a small mechanical device, constructed of interlocking cogs, several knobs, and at least one handle. Widgets are most often used when thingamajigs and dohickies are unavailable.

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EXPLOITATION:

The notion that capital owners and entrepreneurs of the second estate "take advantage" of workers of the third estate by paying them less than their contributions to production.
From a purely theoretical perspective, exploitation occurs if labor is paid a wage less, usually substantially less, than its contribution to production. While other inputs can, in principle, be subject to exploitation, concern is primarily directed toward labor because: (1) wages are the primary source of income for many workers and (2) other inputs, in practice, are less likely to encounter exploitation. As such, if anyone is likely to suffer from exploitation, it is someone whose main source of income is wages earned from the sale of labor services.

As part of the ongoing battle between the employees of second estate and employers of the third estate, exploitation is a politically charged term. In some circumstances it is bandied about without justification. In other circumstances, the charge is justified.

For instance, during the U. S. industrial revolution in the late 1800s and earlier 1900s labor was typically overworked, underpaid, and subject to hazardous working conditions. The labor union movement that emerged in the United States at this time was a direct response to this exploitation.

Similar working conditions in England in the early 1800s contributed to Karl Marx's critique of capitalism in his Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, and which gave ammunition to revolutionaries who brought communist/socialist economic systems to the Soviet Union and China.

Monopsony is a handy theoretical model often used to analyze exploitation. In a market with a single buyer of labor services, the price (or wage) paid is less than in a competitive market. Moreover, this price (or wage) is also less than the marginal revenue product (that is, the contribution to production), hence labor is exploited.

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Recommended Citation:

EXPLOITATION, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: February 25, 2018].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | third estate | second estate | contributive standard | distribution standards |


Or For A Little Background...

     | four estates | equity | communism | socialism | political views |


And For Further Study...

     | economic goals | economic system | capital | entrepreneurship | labor | three questions of allocation | competitive market | marginal productivity theory | monopsony | monopsony, efficiency | monopsony financial market analysis | marginal revenue product |


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