New Ideas in the Tradition of Galbraith
New Directions in Modern Economics series
Edited by Blandine Laperche, James K. Galbraith and Dimitri Uzunidis
Chapter 2: From One Managerial Capitalism. . . to Another
2. From one managerial capitalism … to another Pascal Petit 1. INTRODUCTION * By an irony of fate J.K. Galbraith’s book The New Industrial State was published more or less at the end of the Golden Age of capitalism.1 The accurate description he gives of ‘modern capitalism’, insisting on the role played by the technostructure of major companies, is in considerable contrast to the image of contemporary capitalism dominated by financial logic (see also G. Caire’s contribution, Chapter 5). The distance between the two concepts is formidable! However, if we retrace the history of the developments outlined by Galbraith, we are led, through a sequence of ruptures and continuities, to proceed to a new reading of our contemporary situation. What happened to the power exerted by that technostructure, to that ideology and those political relations on which it rested its primacy? Was the financial deregulation that followed the end of the Bretton Woods system enough to overthrow such power? In what way did their possible reconversion take place? In our stock-exchange euphoria of the 1990s, didn’t we, by mistake, see a takeover by financiers of the sectors in which the evolution was still fairly continuous and strongly centred on the evolution of the managerial world to which Galbraith was trying to draw our attention? Our purpose is to take up Galbraith’s organizational and institutional perspective in order to follow the structural developments that changed that technostructure and conferred on a small group of managers a new role and new powers, going so...
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