Chapter 2: Influences and Sources of Inspiration
2.1 REGULATION AND ALTHUSSERIANISM: AN AMBIGUOUS RELATIONSHIP The tradition that was most important to the birth of Regulation was Althusserianism; at the time, by far the most influential trend within French Marxism. Regulation continues to maintain a subtle and contradictory relationship with this parent, which from a particular, rather short-sighted view can be taken to represent an indication of the continuing productivity and vitality of the Althusserian research programme. For example, Elliot (1987, p. 333), trying to bolster the continuing relevance and vigour of Althusserianism, enlists Regulation in its ranks: In economics, what is probably the most informative Marxist work on contemporary capitalism derives from a French current part descended from the Althusserian tradition – the ‘Regulation School’. Outstanding here have been Michel Aglietta’s ambitious theory of the development of capitalism in the USA from the 1860s to the 1970s and the inquiries of Alain Lipietz into the role of money and credit in the current recession and into the vicissitudes of global Fordism, for example. In fact, Regulation emerged as a reaction against Althusserianism. At the same time, although Regulation was organized as a critique, several important regulationists continued to declare a certain allegiance to at least some facets of the Althusserian tradition (for example Boyer and Lipietz on the theory of state). Lipietz, in particular, when Althusserianism fell from grace and its popularity was curtailed under the post-structuralist attack (and the defection of several of its children) defended it – not least against accusations that it had become a ‘lame...
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