Beyond the Regulation Approach

Beyond the Regulation Approach

Putting Capitalist Economies in their Place

Bob Jessop and Ngai-Ling Sum

This book presents a detailed and critical account of the regulation approach in institutional and evolutionary economics. Offering both a theoretical commentary and a range of empirical examples, it identifies the successes and failures of the regulation approach as an explanatory theory, and proposes new guidelines for its further development.

Chapter 5: A Regulationist Re-reading of East Asian Newly Industrializing Economies: From Peripheral Fordism to Exportism

Bob Jessop and Ngai-Ling Sum

Subjects: economics and finance, institutional economics, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Although the opposition between market and state is a canonical feature of orthodox economics, it is fundamentally flawed and cannot capture the complexities of advanced capitalism (Boyer 2002f: 325). It is even harder to apply to the ‘economic miracles’ and their subsequent crises in East Asian Newly Industrializing Countries (hereafter EANICs). If a social science attuned to the discursive construction of social reality is appropriate (as we believe), it is important to explore how categories such as market and state and their corresponding economic and political imaginaries are constituted. Even when this has been accomplished for European societies and ‘Europe abroad’ (for example, settler societies in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand), we will face problems in addressing other social formations that lack analogous concepts, discursive traditions, structural forms, and practices for the institutional features and forms of conduct that western discourse terms the ‘market economy’, the ‘state’ and ‘civil society’. This in turn poses difficulties in using notions such as laissez-faire, dirigisme or étatisme, which presuppose the formal separation and external articulation of state and economy. The RA seems to offer an alternative to market-centred, state-centred and culturalist explanations of the Asian miracle, but its early attempts to do so had their own flaws, notably too strong an adoption of Fordism and national time–space as the baselines for comparative analysis. Recent studies have begun to overcome both tendencies with the attempt to establish the distinctive features of Japanese capitalism in its own terms (Boyer and Yamada 2000;...

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