Showing posts from December, 2013

The Rhetoric of Exploitation

This essay is about the concept of exploitation, how it is used in political argument, and its relation to philosophical critiques of knowledge and agency. Exploitation is an unfair exchange due to coercion or deception. So what are coercion and deception? Coercion is when an exchange is based on a threat of punishment. A robber putting a gun to your head is coercing you. You willingly exchange your money for your life, so the exchange is voluntary but unfair. Our laws and customs prohibit the use of violence or threats of violence, except when sanctioned by society for the purposes of law enforcement or warfare. A coercive exchange involves trading something good for the absence of something bad, and thus it is not a cooperative exchange. Deception is when an exchange is based on deliberate falsehood. A car dealer who knowingly sells you a car with a cracked engine block, while telling you it is in perfect condition, is deceiving you into making an exchange you would not otherwise