• 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

The Politics of Coalition
The politics of coalition

If a single party wins the support of a faction or factions controlling a majority of coercive resources in the public at large, then it is clearly in a position to take over the incumbency. If we have the ethos of ‘liberal democracies’ in mind, then we may think in the discussion that follows that such a majority is denominated symbolically in terms of votes cast at an election, but there is no need to restrict our view in this way. For this reason I will often speak simply of ‘a majority’, to encompass the more general notion of a set of factions in the public able to dominate the entire group, rather than ‘a majority of voters’. ...

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