- 季刊経済理論 (ISSN:18825184)
- vol.41, no.4, pp.13-24, 2005-01-20 (Released:2017-04-25)
According to Marxian political economy, exploitation means extracting surplus labor. But Marx himself used the term "exploitation" in more general sense also. In his Capital,Volume III, Marx wrote that workers are exploited when capitalists save labor conditions at the expense of the workers. So we can find in Capital two definitions of exploitation: the narrow definition as extracting surplus labor and the broad definition as treating workers badly. With respect to the broad definition of exploitation, I think it is based on Kantian moral principle that obligates us not to treat other people merely as means for our own ends. Kant limited his moral principle to human beings. However, philosophers in today's society extend the principle to nonhuman beings, especially to animals. I think this view of exploitation is important for criticizing contemporary capitalism, because it has relevance for contemporary problems, such as sexual exploitation of women and children, exploitation of nature, and exploitation of animals. Among these problems, animal exploitation is the hottest topic on the political agenda in Europe. The European Treaties recognize animals as sentient beings, and the European Community has been improving animal welfare standard for the past two decades. Moreover the EC made a specific submission to the WTO Committee on Agriculture on "Animal welfare and agricultural trade". Today, animal exploitation is an issue of growing importance in global capitalism. This paper explores the moral basis of Marx's view of exploitation, considers the exploitation of nature, and then discusses the exploitation of animals in today's commercial agriculture.