Putting Capitalist Economies in their Place
This chapter explores the implications of globalization for the RA and develops a regulationist account of globalization. It has four main concerns: (1) contesting the often unstated assumption that globalization comprises a coherent causal mechanism – or set of causal mechanisms – rather than a complex, chaotic and overdetermined outcome of a multiscalar, multitemporal and multicentric series of processes operating in speciﬁc structural contexts; (2) questioning the intellectual and practical search for the primary scale, whether global, triadic, national, regional or urban, around which the world economy is currently organized as if this would somehow be directly analogous to the primacy of the national scale in 30 glorious years of postwar growth associated with Atlantic Fordism; (3) relating the resulting ‘relativization of scale’, that is, the absence of a dominant nodal point in managing interscalar relations, to some basic contradictions and dilemmas of capitalism, changing accumulation regimes, the changing ‘institutional hierarchy’ of the different moments of regulation and the increased importance for competitiveness of the social embeddedness of economic activities; and (4) noting how these problems are being addressed through economic and political projects oriented to different scales, with little consensus as yet on how these projects and scales might be reconciled, if at all, in a coherent mode of global regulation for the current stage of the world market. GLOBALIZATION: A ‘CHAOTIC CONCEPT’ Aglietta has described ‘globalization’ as a catch-all concept (2000a: 413). One could go much further and describe it as a polyvalent, promiscuous, controversial word that often obscures...
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