By Jon Elster

ISBN-10: 052133831X

ISBN-13: 9780521338318

A concise and entire creation to Marx's social, political and financial suggestion for the start pupil. Jon Elster surveys in flip all the major issues of marxist concept: technique, alienation, economics, exploitation, old materialism, periods, politics, and beliefs; in a last bankruptcy he assesses 'what resides and what's useless within the philosophy of Marx'. The emphasis all through is at the analytical constitution of Marx's arguments and the procedure is right away sympathetic, undogmatic, and rigorous.

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For instance, Marx argued that state policies not in the short-term interest of capitalists might - precisely because of that fact - be in their long-term interest. If we grant, for the sake of argument, that this is in fact the case, we still have no explanation. This would require the exhibition of a mechanism by which the satisfaction of long-tenn interests generates or sustains the policies. In the absence of a demonstrated mechanism, the benefits could, for all we know, be purely accidental and hence nonexplanatory.

Mind 49 (1940): 403-26, or H. B. Acton, "Dialectical materialism," in P. ), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Macmillan, 1968), 2: 389-97. I do not know of any exposition of the "rational core" of dialectics that makes it appear both plausible and nontrivial. The interpretation sketched here is further elaborated in my Logic and Society (Wiley, 1978). 40 3 ALIENATION INTRODUCTION M ARX found three main flaws in capitalism: inefficiency, exploitation, and alienation. These play two distinct roles in his theory.

Each capitalist, in other words, wants to 37 Marxist MethodoloDY be in a position which, for purely logical reasons, not everyone can occupy. Although the desire of each capitalist is internally consistent, their desires taken together are contradictory. There is no possible world in which they could all see their desires satisfied. This is not merely a logical paradox. It is closely related to the recurring crises in the capitalist economy. To see this, take a case where loss of export markets leads to a fall in the demand for cars and hence in the profits of the car industry.

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An Introduction to Karl Marx by Jon Elster

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