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Famous Sociologists

Erik Olin Wright


Erik Olin Wright
Texts by Wright

Real Utopia Project

Interviews with Wright

Wright Live: Videos

Listen to Wright: Podcasts


Texts on Wright


Discussion & Communication


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“The Marxist claim is that the social relations within a system of production identify real mechanisms that shape the lives of people and define a terrain of conflict, and that the heart of those mechanisms is a combination of exploitation and domination.”

Texts by Wright

Index Real Utopia Project

The Real Utopias Project, begun in 1991, explores a wide range of proposals and models for radical social change. The basic idea is to combine serious normative discussions of the underlying principles and rationales for different emancipatory visions with the analysis of pragmatic problems of institutional design.

The Real Utopias Project embraces a tension between dreams and practice. It is founded on the belief that what is pragmatically possible is not fixed independently of our imaginations, but is itself shaped by our visions. The fulfillment of such a belief involves ‘real utopias': utopian ideals that are grounded in the real potentials for redesigning social institutions.

The Real Utopias Project examines various basic institutions-property rights and the market, secondary associations, the family, the welfare state, among others-and focuses on specific proposals for their fundamental redesign. The books in the series are the result of workshop conferences, at which groups of scholars are invited to respond to provocative manuscripts.

Index Interviews

Index Wright Live: videos

Index Listen to Wright: Postcasts

Index Wright’s PowerPoints

Three Criteria for Defining “Exploitation”
  1. Inverse Interdependent Welfare Principle
    The material welfare of the advantaged group of people causally depends upon the material deprivations of the disadvantaged.

  2. The Exclusion Principle
    The causal relation in (a) involves the exclusion of the disadvantaged group from access to certain important productive resources controlled by the advantaged group.

  3. The Labor Appropriation Principle
    The causal mechanism which translates (b) exclusion into (a) differential welfare involves the appropriation of the fruits of labor of the disadvantaged group by those who control these productive resources.

Exploitation = (a) + (b) + (c)

In: The Story of L’ll Abner & the Shmoo

Index Texts on Wright

Index Bi(bli)ographies
Index Discussion & Communication


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Editor dr. Albert Benschop
Social & Behavioral Studies
University of Amsterdam
Created June, 1996
Last modified 03rd April, 2017