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Department of Economics, WU (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien) Working papers, Department of Economics, WU (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien)

No 104:
Uncertainty and exploitation in history

Engelbert Stockhammer () and Paul Ramskogler ()

Abstract: The paper builds on the Marxist concept of exploitation to explore the meaning of the Post Keynesian notion of uncertainty. Uncertainty is mediated by institutions and is distributed unevenly among different social groups. As different historical social formations entail different institutional structures, the distribution and nature of uncertainty also differ. The configurations between class relations and uncertainty are analyzed for the capitalist, feudal and slave modes of production. It is demonstrated that modes of production do not only imply specific exploitative relations but also different relative distributions of uncertainty amongst classes. Joining Marxian and Post Keynesian approaches allows a richer understanding of exploitive relations and illuminates the full societal impact of uncertainty. It is shown that only in capitalism is the exploited class exposed to a substantial degree of economic uncertainty.

JEL-Codes: B50; B51; N33; N34; (follow links to similar papers)

April 2007

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