The Limits of Regulation

The Limits of Regulation

A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Development

Stavros Mavroudeas

This unique and original book offers a critical survey of the regulation approach, an influential theoretical school born in the 1970s and belonging to the neo-Marxist and radical political economy traditions.

Chapter 8: Value Theory and Regulation’s Macroeconomics

Stavros Mavroudeas

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, radical and feminist economics, politics and public policy, political economy

Extract

The significance of the version of value theory proposed by the valuetheoretical regulationists can now be clearly established. Their exchangebased understanding of value results in a theory where exchange and the demand-side are one-sidedly prioritized, in an almost Keynesian manner, and fundamental aspects of Marxist theory are refuted or reduced to mere caricatures of themselves. Furthermore, it seems that Regulation’s movement from value to the covert prioritization of money and from there to the open dethronement of value by money is paralleled by a movement from the primacy of production to a more or less open circulationism. Initially, in Aglietta (1979), the wage relation is defined as a mainly but not exclusively production relation (notwithstanding the fact that in reality it was understood chiefly as an income relation). The commodity relation (an exchange relation, which was absent from Aglietta’s PhD thesis (1974)) is accepted as significant. Following this, there is a double shift of emphasis. First, there is a shift within the wage relation from a production-based definition to an income-based (and ultimately circulationist) definition. Second, there is a shift of priority from the wage to the commodity relation. The consequences of these changes in definitions and in perspective can be seen in a number of important areas. The problems concerning the allocation of social labour (disproportionality), particularly among the departments of production, linked to the problems of realization and of effective demand occupy the centre of attention. As a (not necessary) consequence, the law of the tendency of the...

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