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Chris Howell

This chapter first makes the case for understanding why the state is a central actor in employment relations before examining how its role has changed in the period since the exhaustion of Fordist growth some 35 years ago, and how and why forms of state intervention and regulation with regard to class relations vary across different national types of political economy. It argues that the state is inevitably involved in the regulation of class relations by virtue of the contradictory, unruly, conflictual nature of the operation of the capitalist economy, and the tension that exists in democratic capitalist polities between the imperative of accumulation and the need for legitimation and political responsiveness.