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ECONOMICS & SOCIOLOGY


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ISSN 2071-789X



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Contemporary Capitalism between Human Action and Social Structure

Vol. 7, No 2, 2014

 

Alessandro Morselli

Lecturer of Complements Economic Policy

Department of Economic and Law Faculty of Economics

CONTEMPORARY CAPITALISM BETWEEN HUMAN ACTION

AND SOCIAL STRUCTURE

University of Rome “La Sapienza”

Rome, Italy

E-mail: alessandro.morselli@uniroma1.it

 

ABSTRACT. The agency/structure relationship is not sufficiently explained by economic theory. On the one hand, neoclassical economics does not solve the problem because it leads to the actions of the agents, within an unrealistic representation of individual behaviour and of the capitalist system’s functioning. On the other hand, the theoretical approaches that have most contributed to the analysis of capitalism such as Marxism and evolutionist Institutionalism, do not provide a complete explanation. The theoretical inadequacy is reflected in the empirical analysis: if the Marxist analysis has difficulty in interpreting the unforeseen development of capitalism in the twentieth century, the evolutionist-Institutionalist analysis fails to anticipate the centrality of conflicts between capital and labour and of the commodification of labour force in the development process. This work shows that the combination of the Marxist analysis of capitalism and of the individual action theory borrowed by evolutionist Institutionalism can provide a valid theoretical answer to the agency/structure problem and a strong support to the empirical analysis.

 

Received: January, 2014

1st Revision: March, 2014

Accepted: April, 2014

 

 

 

DOI:10.14254/2071-789X.2014/7-2/2

JEL Classification: B13; B14; B15; P12

Keywords: agency; structure; marxism; evolutionist-institutionalist; capitalism.