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Regulation School, Social Structures of Accumulation, and Intermediate Theory

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Part of the Palgrave Insights into Apocalypse Economics book series (PIAE)

Abstract

Regulation School and Social Structures of Accumulation periodizations of capitalism switched the course of Marxist theory away from theorizing stages of capitalism based upon a historical teleology. By combining research strategies of systematizing empirical history and elaborating upon a constant of capitalism each approach arrived at the idea of intermediate theory as a “level” of theory mediating between abstract economic theory and historical studies. Intermediate or mid-range theory operates as a form of institutional analysis capturing non-economic supports capital relies upon to avert crises and sustain decades of accumulation. Concern of these theories with factors stabilizing accumulation also brings to bear analysis of crises tendencies of capitalism. Of particular interest in this chapter are debates among Marxist and non-Marxist theories of the specific crises tendencies which led to the demise of the post-WWII golden age of capitalism.

Keywords

  • Intermediate or mid-range theory
  • Fordism
  • Post-fordism
  • Golden age of capitalism
  • Post-war SSA
  • Corporate capital
  • Institutional or structural forms

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Fig. 5.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Michel Aglietta’s book may be taken as the foundational work of RS. Yet, as Jessop explains in his “Preface” to a five-volume edited research survey of Regulation theory writings (Jessop 2001: xiv–xv), Aglietta and other prominent RS theorists such as Robert Boyer and Alain Lipietz are pegged as members of the “Parisian” variant of the theory. Other French “schools” of the theory exist as do other European genres of RS. Nevertheless, given that the conceptual infrastructure was initially set out by Aglietta and followed up on by Boyer and Lipietz, the discussion of RS in this chapter will largely treat only the writings of the foregoing along with commentaries and critical reviews of that work.

  2. 2.

    For interested readers, the best schematic summary I am aware of for the main positions of debate on the demise of the post-WWII golden age is found in Webber and Rigby (1996: 76–80).

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Westra, R. (2019). Regulation School, Social Structures of Accumulation, and Intermediate Theory. In: Periodizing Capitalism and Capitalist Extinction. Palgrave Insights into Apocalypse Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14390-9_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14390-9_5

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