This book examines the main areas of interest in Marxian economics, paying particular attention to class conflict, analytical Marxism and game theory. Very few books can claim to cover the areas that this book does with such clarity, academic rigour and originality. Its study of game theory and Marxism makes it a particularly unique book that will interest a wider variety of economists and social scientists than would normally be the case.
Beneath the exterior, what is the nature of capitalism? In this volume, it is argued that capitalism remains exploitative and may be crisis-prone. Moreover, Marxian economics is still an approach that can yield significant insight into how class antagonisms operate and endure in capitalist economies. This book develops Marx's analysis of class conflict and the competitive process in light of the emergence, since the late 1970s, of analytical Marxism. However, the approach of analytical Marxism is also deserving of criticism because of the problematic methodological approaches to social science endorsed by leading practitioners. Contra analytical Marxism, this book argues that it is essential to relocate such game theory in a methodological structure that gives primacy to class, rather than individual agents, in generating social scientific explanations. In the first part of the book, methodological individualism is subjected to criticism, and it is suggested that alternative levels of social scientific investigation can be considered to provide insight into the nature of capitalism.
Game theory may be used to explore how capitalist economies function, but the individual human actor will often not be the relevant unit for investigation. The second part of the book explores value and exploitation in Marxian economics, surveying a number of approaches to the former before evaluating Roemer's game-theoretic contributions to exploitation and class. The importance of the notion of surplus labour time is made clear in the context of conflict over the length of the working day, before considering working class 'preferences' for hours. Finally, the paradox of the 'falling rate of profit' controversy is reconsidered. Of interest to economists and specialists in Marxist theory, Philip's book advances this key critical area.