• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Private Desires, Political Action is an accessible overview of one of the most important approaches to the study of politics in the modern world - rational choice theory. Michael Laver does not set out to review this entire field, but rather to discuss how we might use rational choice theory to analyze the political competition that affects almost every aspect of our lives. The broad-ranging scope of the book introduces the theory at many levels of analysis, including: the private desires of individuals; the social context of how people fulfil their desires; and the problems of collective action. The discussion of these problems extends into the arena of politics, where the activities of `political entrepreneurs' or

Political Entrepreneurs, Politicians and Parties
Political entrepreneurs, politicians and parties

The ‘solutions’ to the pervasive problem of collective action reviewed in the previous chapter depend either upon the existence of an autocratic Hobbesian sovereign to enforce Co-operation from outside the group, or upon anarchistic conditional Co-operation within a small and stable community. The problem with a Hobbesian sovereign is that there seems to be no reason, absent a saint or a philosopher king, why an absolute monarch will not exploit subjects without mercy, leaving them little better off than they would be in a state of nature, in a war of all against all. The problem with anarchistic conditional Co-operation is that, however conceived, it seems a far more plausible solution for small and stable groups ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles