chapter  Five
29 Pages

Class struggle, capitalist democracy and rational choice: Przeworski’s analytical theses

WithRobert Looker

This chapter examines Adam Przeworski’s wider and complementary thesis that he can show that there is what one might call an elective affinity between the working class and the politics of reformism and explains the logic of the connection. The task of establishing the precise shape and direction of Przeworski’s analysis of class in Capitalism and Social Democracy is by no means a straightforward one. Przeworski starts from what he sees as the core weakness in the classical Marxist theory of the working class, namely its preoccupation with Marx’s ‘class-in-itself/class-for-itself’ problematic. Przeworski characterises the capitalist economy as a system of class inequalities of wealth and income operating within an increasingly complex and differentiated occupational structure. Przeworski makes many interesting comments on the logic of the democratic electoral game and its impact on party strategy. The tension between Przeworski’s two lines of argument can be resolved only at a major cost to the theoretical edifice which he seeks to erect.