But Althusserian Marxists insisted so much on this reproduction that they forgot that these relations are contradictory and that they are at any moment subject to crisis. The point is not to be émerveilléto be astounded, by the reproduction of social relations but to be very anxious about why they are not in crisis. Our approach asks instead how can there be regular reproduction, given the contradictory character of social relations?
We ask how, despite and through the contradictory character of relations, a unity of relations is reproduced. Of course, we became still more interested in this question when the world crisis started in the early s. So, you can consider the regulation school as an Aufhebungin the Hegelian sense, of structural Marxism. This is the first way to tell the story. Most of us were Marxists of the Althusserian school but we quickly tried to get rid of the notions of structures without subjects, without contradictions, and without crisis.
So, I could say that we are the rebel sons of Pierre Massé. That is, we are all part of that group of French high civil servants who, from within the state apparatus, implemented the Fordist model in France. As macroeconomists, our job was to make models - macroeconomic models - in order to fine tune growth within Fordism. When you make a macroeconomic model, you assume that the equations of the model represent the aggregate behavior of agents - the state, households, the firms, and so on.
When the crisis came, however, we began to question the stability of the equations. In order to question the stability of the equations, we had to figure out whether the equations we had been using were "natural" or whether they were only an historical product.
To do this we went back to history; we did econometric studies of the period before World War II and all of the 19th century. We discovered in this way that liposuccion morbihan sud laws were not the same and the behavior of agents was not the same. Then we concluded that after behavior took on the form we recognized because there was a great compromise and a new regime of accumulation was accepted by all the actors.
In this way, as macroeconomists, we had to turn to historians, to political scientists, to sociologists, in order to understand the way institutions were created and actors came to behave according to the equations that the macroeconomists had been using as "natural data. JJ: You present the regulation approach as the result of asking traditional questions in new ways and you stress the importance of the economic crisis since in encouraging you to do this. Yet, other people have asked questions about this crisis, too, and they have found their answers in changes in technologies and the restructuring of production and productive forces.
How does your analysis differ from such accounts of the crisis and the current period? The most important thing we criticized was the assumption of the neutrality and non-social character of productive forces.
You know, this idea that productive forces are like an engine of a train which pulls behind it relations of production, political relations, ideology and so on. There are absolutely no windfalls coming from the sky of discovery. Of course there are scientific discoveries, but the ways they are actually implemented in industry or agriculture express existing social relations.
So, the growth of productive forces - even the shape of that growth - is nothing but the expression of a definite set of social relations in the workplace, in the family, in the fields.
We should say that production relations determine productive forces, and not the reverse. We would even go on to say that the compromise between social forces determines the way social relations work.
This compromise determines the mode of regulation, the pattern of industrialization, the regime of accumulation, and not the reverse. So, politics first. There is another approach which pays attention to technological change, which is close to us and with which we have a lot of interrelations.
Our long-wave theorist friends think that technology leads and frames social change. I think we can take mutual advantage of a dialogue with this school. Yet we do not accept the notion that technological change is leading history, nor that there is a kind of great wheel that organizes a succession of different models, one after the other.
JJ: You have begun to sketch a theory of history here. The first thing I would say is that it is refreshing to hear an economist elaborating an historical discussion in such detail.
I would like to hear more about the notions of history which underpin the regulation approach.
AL: I suppose one consequence of our stress on the determining effects of production relations and politics is that we can not accept that there is a linearity to history. In each major crisis, there is a debate, and humankind searches out new relations, new compromises. At each major crisis the way is open, history is open. For instance ingiven the different candidates for dominance - social democracy, fascism, communism - there was absolutely no reason to think that social democracy would be the winner and would implement the Fordist compromise in so many places.
Thinking that history is open-ended also means that for the regulation approach, capitalism as a mode of production appears varied and flexible. We are perfectly ready to say that the Soviet Union is a form of capitalism. Within the large family of societies where market and commodity relations, wage relations, and patriarchal relations prevail, there is an incredible variety of possible forms of compromise. Hence, we do not raise the question of "getting rid of capitalism in order to go to socialism.
The problem is that capitalism is no longer working in the old Fordist manner, and we have to find a new way for society to operate. But, even within these relations a lot of things can be changed. And we try to define a new kind of compromise, a new way of working within these relations that for ethical reasons - and only for ethical, not "scientific" reasons - we think are better. JJ: You are now moving quickly from history to politics, even day-to-day politics.
Are you implying that all people within the regulation approach share a common political position?
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Of course, they are all on the left. They are all in favor of change which does not crush the workers and which does not send women back to their households. In other words, the analyses of the regulation approach are widely accepted. Despite this lack of policy consensus, however, there are some points about which we all agree, which we derive from our own analysis of this crisis of Fordism.
This analysis is, roughly speaking, the following: First, there was a crisis in the organization of labor, which then led to a crisis in the regime of accumulation, because there were not enough gains in productivity to finance profit, hence accumulation, to increase real wages and to increase the funds of the welfare state. Thirdly, the mode of regulation which had been a national one, based on a national compromise, is now in contradiction with an internationalization of production and markets stretched beyond domestic boundaries.
This is the common sense about the crisis that stems from the regulation approach. By this I mean the concern with social demand. On the other hand, we reject the position of people who say there is no reason to be concerned about the organization of social demand because the market will take care of it for you.
We know that the market never takes care of that kind of question. Second, we all agree that the technological aspects of Fordism are in crisis.
We all agree that mass production, organized around huge machines conceived by engineers and designers and operated by unskilled workers, is in crisis. But since we think that technology is nothing but the embodiment of technical knowledge in machinery, we ask about the social relations framing any new technological apparatus.
Fordist regime of accumulation in the united states
We are in favor of new technologies, but we want to identify, we want to specify, the social relations which will surround these new technologies because there are several possibilities, ranging from forms of hyper-Taylorization to flexible specialization. A third area of consensus recognizes the importance of not trying to say anything exact about a new regime of accumulation.
Our point is that, while there are limits to what is possible, we do think that there are alternatives to present arrangements.
That is our common sense. A realistic position about Keynesianism, about the organization of labor, about the possibility of a new regime, and our sense of the care with which we have to define the new regime is the common sense of the regulationists when they act as citizens, as activists.
Within this three point consensus, the practical positions of regulationists are very, very different. Some think that since we must organize social demand, the national state is okay; others think that we can do nothing more at the level of the national state, and we must go at least to the level of the continental state, i.
I could give a lot of examples of differences, but overall I would say that now regulationists are stretched from the Rocard position to that of the "rainbow coalition. JJ: Throughout the interview you have mentioned the international economy. The constraining effect of the international economy is a popular theme in France these days, both for the Right and the Left. How does the regulation approach think about this factor in the development of a new, stabilized regime of accumulation in France?
AL: The theme of the internationalization of production has become increasingly important for the whole approach. In the beginning, our main field of research was Fordism, which was one of the most nation-centered regimes of accumulation in history.
In the Fordist regime of accumulation, toxine botulique paralysie bouche ratio of exports to gross national product was one of the lowest. Compare it to the situation in Britain in the 19th century, or Venice at the beginning of capitalism. Fordism was almost a simple juxtaposition of national regimes! However, since one of the two main causes of the crisis is the contradiction between the internationalization of production and markets and the national character of regulation, we were obliged to study the world as a system, and to study the ways that national regimes could exist within that system.
Hence, we had to ask whether there was such a thing as a regime of accumulation at the world level or a mode of regulation at the world level. In short, up to now our answer has been: there is something like a mode of regulation, a kind of consensus about some institutions and some behavior since The problem is that these forms of regulation are not guaranteed by any state.
Rather, to the extent that they have existed, they are due to the hegemony of one particular national state, the United States of America. By the way, this international mode of regulation is what international relations theory labels a "regime. It is the equivalent of what we would call a mode of regulation at the international level. But the notion raises a lot of questions. Is it possible for a stable set of interna-tional institutions to exist without the hegemony of a superpower?
Is it possible to have a kind of democratic settlement between nations? As far as the regime, in the French meaning of the term, is concerned - that is, a regular match between transformations in production and transformations in consumption - no such thing exists at the international level.
We can speak at most of a kind of "international configuration," and these configurations are subject to shifts, continuous displacement. These variations have led to some opportunities for the Third World, places like Korea, Brazil and other newly industrializing countries. We have to elaborate a little more on that subject because our main tendency is to study each country, each national reality one by one. We must start from enough cases and from the reality of each nation.
We should never deduce the situation of any nation - Mali, Nigeria, Peru - from the ghost that would be world capitalism. But, since the various national models of development and various national regimes of accumulation are obviously in contact with each other, we have to think of something like a regime at the world level.
JJ: In this way of talking about the international economy and international relations you indicate quite clearly that the regulation approach tends to blur the traditional boundaries of the social sciences. Metadata Show full item record. The decline in profits from the late s onwards was ultimately met by monetarist deflation, leading to global recession.
The article concludes by considering two alternative escape routes from the crisis, with radically different social and political implications. La declinación de las utilidades que se inició a fines de la década defue alcanzada finalmente por la deflación monetarista, conduciendo a una recesión global. El artículo concluye considerando dos vías alternativas para salir de la crisis, las cuales tienen implicaciones sociales y políticas radicalmente diferentes.
Providence évitaient une crise de sur? La diminution des profits depuis à peu près la fin des années 60 a provoqué une déflation monétaire entrainant une récession générale. L'article conclut en analysant deux solutions différentes à la crise, avec des implications sociales et politiques radicalement opposées.
Citation Lipietz, A.