Exploitation: What is it?

A good Thursday to you all,

Before we get into the meat of today’s lesson, let’s take a look at a premium response to yesterday’s question:

To convey one’s ideas, or to gain knowledge on a topic, mediums should be wisely chosen depending on the situation and audience. Mr. Rosling’s speech, conveyed as a video to us, explains and presents data by using stunning 21st century graphics; it immediately catches the attention of people, even those who wouldn’t have cared if the same information was presented in an article. Also, during his speech, he used Styrofoam blocks to explain why the world population will increase until 10 billion, which cannot be done by text.

However, when reading the BBC article, we can save time by skimming through it and getting important information at once. Hence, if you need to write a research paper, articles are more useful. Choosing the right mediums is a significant part of your scholarly and daily life, because your decision can change what you absorb; what you absorb can change what you believe in.

Nice response, eh?

It’s time to get a bit heavier. We’re going to spend a couple days unpacking the term “exploitation”. We’ll look at different classes of it, and we’ll examine where we see it in our daily lives.

Consider the following from an essay by Robert Mayer of Loyola University Chicago from the Journal of Applied Philosophy.


“Failure to benefit a disadvantaged party as fairness requires.”

“In Class 1 exploitation the exploiter fails to benefit the disadvantaged party at all.”

Class 2 exploiters fail to benefit their victims sufficiently. As a result, those who are exploited gain too little from the transaction or pay too much for what they do gain. There is a disparity between price and value.”

“A Class 3 exploiter fails to benefit the exploited party in an authentic way. Benefits are exchanged, but the exploiter’s benefit is judged to be false or simultaneously harmful. One example is the pusher who satisfies the addict’s craving for a price. The addict receives a benefit from the pusher that others view as a harm, and this means that the addict has essentially paid to be harmed by the pusher who exploits him. Another example is a pimp who recruits a runaway teen as a prostitute. The pimp offers a job and protection in exchange for a share of the prostitute’s income, but the benefit he provides (the opportunity to trade sex for money) is commonly viewed as harmful and degrading. The pimp and the pusher both gain at the expense of others by trading false or contradictory benefits for real ones.”

“. . . We should not dismiss exploitation as a minor offense. Taking unfair advantage of others can be seriously wrong, even when it is noncoercive and mutually advantageous. The pimp’s exploitation of the runaway teen is a case in point. Exploiters prey upon the vulnerable, and that is an unsavory way to enrich oneself. Sometimes the exploitation also increases the weakness, rendering the disadvantaged party even more exploitable than before.”

“Structural exploitation requires structural solutions. Either resources must be redistributed to end the vulnerability of which the exploiters take unfair advantage or the rules of the competition must be rewritten so that only fair transactions are permitted. In general, when it comes to fighting exploitation a strategy of prevention may be more desirable than a strategy of prohibition. And where prevention is not possible, mitigation of exploitation may be preferable to outright prohibition because the latter can reduce opportunities for the disadvantaged to improve their lot here and now. In a world distorted by distributive injustice, it may be more humane to manage exploitation than to try to abolish it.”

While we’re watching Salaam Bombay, take note of the places in which you see exploitation of different kinds.

In your “Population Thoughts” document, copy and paste these questions and answer them as we go along:

1) Class 1 exploitation can be seen when _________.

2) Class 2 exploitation can be seen when _________.

3) Class 3 exploitation can be seen when _________.

4) My POP Paper topic (is / may be) ___________. Exploitation, regarding this issue is possible when __________.

Have this complete by the end of class on Friday.

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