Definition of Exploitation

Exploitation is the act of obtaining benefit from something or someone.. Beyond the various variants of meaning that the term has, the truth is that it is generally related to the social and economic level, to the extent that it is related to the notion of value, to the way in which it is obtained or lost .

One of the most frequent uses is related to natural goods or resources.. Thus, when speaking of “exploitation” from this point of view, reference is made to the way in which benefits are extracted from nature to be used in a market economy. Some examples of this type of profit extraction are fishing, mining, agriculture, livestock, forestry, etc. In these cases, the exploitation may be aimed at direct consumption by human beings, or indirectly, integrating them into more complex production processes that will result in the creation of other goods. An example of this last possibility is the extraction of hydrocarbons on which almost the entire economic order of the world is based.

Another habitual use, this time with a pejorative aspect, is that of human exploitation, or to establish greater precision, of the unfair exploitation of human labor.. From this perspective, the benefit that is extracted from the work of man by another is always much greater than the rewards in the form of wages.. The most relevant proposals of recent times in this regard are those made by Karl Marx in his work the capital; there he exposes that the accumulation of capital to improve production processes entails a lower need for labor and a consequent drop in wages. Beyond the fact that Marxism has become obsolete in many aspects, the truth is that some situations that he denounces are still valid.

Regardless of the specific notion of exploitation that is used, the truth is that the idea of ​​extracting profit is intrinsic to the logic of a market economy and must be understood with that orientation.