Putting Capitalist Economies in their Place
4. Neo-conservative regimes and the transition to post-Fordism This chapter examines the transition to post-Fordism in the United Kingdom and West Germany under the conservative regimes of Mrs Thatcher and Herr Kohl.1 It asks why this took the form of Thatcherism in Britain and why West Germany had no comparable regime (let alone one digniﬁed with the label of Kohlism). We seek an explanation in two related sets of factors: (1) the modes of regulation and growth associated with Fordism in these societies; and (2) their state and political systems. These features shaped the crisis of Fordism in each country and framed the search for a post-Fordist accumulation regime. This explanation is not exhaustive (nor is it intended to be) and other matters are also relevant. But it is already more complex as well as concrete than the general analysis of the Fordist state in Chapter 3 and makes a further step in the development of a regulation- and state-theoretical approach to an integral economic analysis. Thus we give a brief account of Fordism, its crisis and the likely forms of post-Fordism; describe the speciﬁc forms assumed by Fordism in Britain and Germany; and explore the responses to the crisis of Fordism by the Thatcher and Kohl governments. We end with some general remarks on the importance for the regulation approach of developing an adequate account of the state and political power. REGIMES OF ACCUMULATION The RA asks how capitalism could survive even though the capital relation itself...
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