Global Contentions – East and West
Edited by Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Makoto Itoh and Nobuharu Yokokawa
Chapter 7: The diversity and future of capitalisms: a régulationnist analysis
Robert A. Boyer INTRODUCTION As we entered the new millennium, many economists celebrated the apparent victory of the market. They pointed to the collapse of Soviet-type economies, the major difﬁculties experienced by social democratic countries and the seemingly irreversible decay of state-led strategies. The long and steady boom of the American economy during the 1990s was contrasted with sluggish European economic growth and job creation. Some political philosophers have even argued that history has come to an end, since no alternative to the market economy and the democratic polity seems viable. We ﬁnd the modern Dr Pangloss, proclaiming that this is the best of all possible worlds. All will be well, it is said, as long as governments give markets free rein and let entrepreneurs prosper. Both Marx and Keynes are dead and buried: their visions of an unstable and crisis-prone capitalism are both seemingly obsolete. The régulation school challenges this erroneous consensus. It has built a conceptual and theoretical framework to analyse the long-run process of structural change within capitalism. The interpretation of contemporary transformations is different from both the Marxist tradition, which stresses the irreversible evolution towards a ﬁnal crisis, and the Panglossian vision put forward by the neoclassical fundamentalists who believe in the self-equilibrating property of a market economy. By contrast, the régulation research agenda is to provide some understanding of the strains and contradictions that permeate contemporary societies and international relations, especially in reaction to some quite surprising developments since the end of...
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