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Jon Elster, 18 March 1982

Marx’s Politics 
by Alan Gilbert.
Martin Robertson, 326 pp., £16.50, August 1981, 0 85520 441 9
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The History of Marxism. Vol. 1: Marxism in Marx’s Day 
edited by Eric Hobsbawm.
Harvester, 349 pp., £30, January 1982, 0 7108 0054 1
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Dialectic of Defeat: Contours of Western Marxism 
by Russell Jacoby.
Cambridge, 202 pp., £15.80, January 1982, 9780521239158
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Analytical Foundations of Marxian Economic Theory 
by John Roemer.
Cambridge, 230 pp., £19.50, August 1981, 0 521 23047 0
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Karl Marx: The Arguments of the Philosophers 
by Allen Wood.
Routledge, 304 pp., £13.50, January 1981, 0 7100 0672 1
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... in either case without providing the mechanism that alone could make such contentions plausible. John Roemer and Allen Wood both confront this problem, with radically different conclusions. Roemer argues that functional explanations are inadequate, and that social behaviour and institutions must be explained by ...

Can Marxism be rescued?

Alan Ryan, 17 September 1987

An Introduction to Karl Marx 
by Jon Elster.
Cambridge, 220 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 521 32922 1
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Making sense of Marx 
by Jon Elster.
Cambridge, 556 pp., £32.50, May 1985, 0 521 22896 4
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Analytical Marxism 
edited by John Roemer.
Cambridge, 321 pp., £27.50, March 1986, 0 521 30025 8
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... and defended in the plainest prose. Lest that give the impression that Jerry Cohen, Jon Elster and John Roemer see themselves as Marxists first and philosophers second, it must at once be said that their work is remarkable for the unflinching way in which they throw out whatever won’t pass a dispassionate scrutiny. Elster’s Making sense of Marx has ...

The Crisis in Economic Theory

Jon Elster, 20 October 1983

An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change 
by Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter.
Harvard, 437 pp., £20, October 1982, 0 674 27227 7
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A General Theory of Exploitation and Class 
by John Roemer.
Harvard, 298 pp., £22, September 1982, 0 674 34440 5
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... to provide an alternative to the postulate of maximisation at the core of neo-classical theory. Roemer offers a different heterodoxy, by focusing on the Marxist notions of class and exploitation. To understand these non-neo-classical phenomena he uses standard neo-classical tools, no doubt to the surprise of many and the dismay of some of his Marxist ...

If Oxfam ran the world

Martha Nussbaum, 4 September 1997

Living High and Letting Die: Our Illusion of Innocence 
by Peter Unger.
Oxford, 187 pp., £35, October 1996, 0 19 507584 6
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... Scanlon and Thomas Pogge from the Kantian, Gerald Cohen, Brian Barry, the economists Amartya Sen, John Roemer and Partha Dasgupta, all get a nod in a footnote at most, and we hear nothing informative about how their arguments would be addressed. Major historical contributors such as Kant, Bentham and Adam Smith don’t even get a nod. So the implied ...
... we may ask about the forms in which and the conditions under which exploitation can appear. John Roemer has constructed a series of models that allow us to answer these questions. In particular, he has found that exploitation can occur without class formation, if it arises by exchange in the commodity market; that exploitation arising in the labour ...

Utopia in Texas

Glen Newey: Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, 19 January 2017

by Thomas More, edited by George M. Logan, translated by Robert M. Adams.
Cambridge, 141 pp., £9.99, August 2016, 978 1 107 56873 0
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by Thomas More, translated by Gilbert Burnet.
Verso, 216 pp., £8.99, November 2016, 978 1 78478 760 8
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... they did to his hagiolaters. To the charge that More had an unnatural fondness for torture (when John Tewkesbury, a London leather merchant and Protestant, was incinerated after torture in 1531, More – by then lord chancellor – imagined ‘a hot firebrand burning at his back, that all the water of the world will never be able to quench’), one recent ...

Ever Closer Union?

Perry Anderson, 7 January 2021

... in Switzerland – he retained his membership of the NSDAP until 1945. His compatriot Karl Roemer, an advocate-general to the court, spent the war in occupied Paris managing French companies and banks for the Third Reich; after the war, he married Adenauer’s niece, and acted as defence lawyer for the Waffen SS charged with responsibility for the ...

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