Regulation and Politics: The Integral Economy and the Integral State

This on-line version is the pre-copyedited, preprint version. The published version can be found here:

A. Demirović, H. Krebs, T. Sablowski, eds,  Hegemonie und Staat,  Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot Verlag,1992.

This paper builds on important complementarities between regulation theory and (neo)-Gramscian state theory to provide a distinctive account of the institutional restructuring and strategic re-orientation of the state system in capitalist societies.[i] Its main objective is to explain the crisis of the Keynesian welfare state and the current transition to what might be termed the ‘Schumpeterian workfare state’ in the context of the currently observable ‘hollowing out’ (Aushöhlung) of the nation-state. To reach this objective the argument moves through five stages: it first reveals major complementarities between regulation theory and (neo)-Gramscian state theory which are rooted in the former’s concern with the economy in its integral sense and the latter’s with the state in its inclusive sense; it then departs from the Parisian variant of regulation theory[ii] to show how the state has previously been introduced into integral economic accounts of capitalist reproduction-regulation; thirdly, it complements this account of the state’s place in an integral economic analysis by considering in turn the place of the economy in an integral analysis of the state; fourthly, it describes some key changes currently altering the dominant accumulation regime; and, finally, it shows how these changes are structurally coupled to the transition to the Schumpeterian workfare state. The paper ends with some general comments on the methodological implications of the approach.

1) Integral Economy, Integral State

Gramsci is distinctive among Marxist state theorists for his much greater concern with the modalities of state power than the general nature of the state apparatus or its specific functions in capital accumulation. He focused on lo stato integrale (the integral state), i.e., the state in its inclusive sense. In turn this implies that the state in its narrow sense can be identified with the governmental apparatus, with the politico-juridical organisation of the state. This approach is reflected in his controversial definition of the state as ‘political society + civil society’ and his related claims that state power in western capitalist societies rests on ‘hegemony armoured by coercion’ (Gramsci 1971: 261-3). Thus his work was not concerned with the constitutional and institutional features of government, its formal decision-making procedures, or its general policies; instead he focused on the various ways and means whereby political, intellectual, and moral leadership was mediated through a complex ensemble of institutions, organizations, and forces operating within, oriented towards, or located at a distance from the state in its narrow sense. It was certainly a weakness in Gramsci’s work that he neglected the distinctive organizational forms of the capitalist type of state in favour of examining the historical specificity of political class struggles in the wider society. But this can be remedied if state power is understood as a form-determined condensation of the balance of forces in political struggle. For such an approach would refer us to the strategic selectivity[iii] of the state apparatus and its implications for political class struggle (cf. Offe 1975; Poulantzas 1978; Jessop 1985).

In my view regulation theory can (but need not always) provide an analogous approach to the capitalist economy. For regulation theory is typically concerned with the changing modalities of accumulation rather than the abstract, formal features of capital in general. It focuses on l’economia integrale (the integral economy), i.e., the economy in its inclusive sense. Thus, developing the analogy with Gramsci’s approach to the state, I suggest that regulation theory at its best analyses the integral economy in terms of an ‘accumulation regime + social structure of accumulation’; and that capital accumulation in its inclusive sense, i.e., the expanded reproduction of capital as a social relation, involves ‘self-valorisation in and through regulation’. For, if the ‘decisive economic nucleus’ (to use another Gramscian phrase) of capitalist regulation is the self-valorisation of capital, this decisive nucleus is always and necessarily socially embedded and socially regulated. This social embeddedness does not mean, as some critics seem to believe, that the regulation approach is structuralist; nor does social regulation mean that the class struggle can ever be abolished (e.g., Bonefeld 1987; Clarke 1988; Holloway 1988). Instead what the regulation approach leads us to investigate is the strategic selectivity of various accumulation regimes and modes of regulation and its impact on the specific forms and modalities of economic class struggle in its inclusive sense.

The complementarities between these two approaches should be evident. Both the neo-Gramscian and regulation paradigms study their specific theoretical object in its wider social context. Thus Gramsci examines the social embeddedness and social regulation of state power, the regulation approach examines the social embeddedness and social regulation of accumulation. For Gramsci, this involves examining the modalities of political power (hegemony, coercion, domination, leadership) which enable a historically specific power bloc to project power beyond the boundaries of the state and secure the conditions for political class domination. Likewise, for regulation theorists, this means studying the modalities of economic regulation (the wage relation, money and credit, forms of competition, international regimes, and the state) which secure the compatibility between micro-economic conduct and the expanded reproduction of the circuit of capital in specific historical circumstances. Thus both approaches are concerned with the strategic selectivity of specific regimes (political or economic) and their implications for class domination (political or economic).

In bringing these approaches together we can strengthen each of them. For the neo-Gramscian approach is not only marred by its weakness in dealing with the governmental apparatus as such (the state in its narrow sense) but also by its somewhat gestural treatment of the ‘decisive economic nucleus’ of hegemony. In my opinion, regulation theory can help to remedy this particular deficiency. Conversely, the regulation approach is well known (and much criticised) for its neglect of the state (for a review of the literature on this, see Jessop 1990a). Thus only a few regulation theorists (and these mostly working outside the Parisian mainstream) have paid much attention to the state system. But it is surely interesting to note here how far their approach to the state in such cases either directly refers to (or is strongly reminiscent of) Gramsci (e.g., Lipietz 1987; Häusler and Hirsch 1987; Jenson 1990; Noël 1988). This suggests that neo-Gramscian theory and regulation theory are commensurable and that it would be worth combining them.

2) Regulation Theory and the State

Regulation theory is concerned with relatively concrete and complex issues in Marxist political economy. In certain respects one could see it as attempting to complete and update the critique of political economy planned by Marx. For Marx did not fulfil the six-book plan for his critical theory, failing to provide full accounts of wage-labour, the state, foreign trade, and world market and crises, etc.. In this sense regulation theory builds on concepts and arguments from Capital[iv] and re-specifies them so that they can be deployed at more concrete, complex levels of analysis. It takes for granted concepts such as capital in general, particular capitals, the money form, the wage form, competition, and so on; and focuses on the various historically specific ‘structural forms’ in which they are instantiated and the practices involved in their reproduction-regulation. Only by locating the regulation approach in the dual movement from abstract to concrete and from simple to complex[v] in and through which is disclosed the ‘complex synthesis of multiple determinations’ which comprises the ‘real-concrete’ (Marx 1857) can one avoid the charge that it is merely a middle-range theory which is not specifically Marxist.

Indeed, far from being inherently inconsistent with Marxist principles, the development of the regulation approach could help to realise the project of a critical theory of capitalist societies. For Marx found real difficulties in presenting the full complexity of the social embeddedness and social regulation of the circuit of capital at more abstract, simple levels of analysis. This is amply indicated in the many and varied similes, metaphors, and circumlocutions which Marx was forced to deploy in dealing with the articulation of the capitalist social formation in order to avoid simple functionalist or economic reductionist arguments. Only thus could he proceed beyond the critique of the capitalist economy in its narrow sense (self-valorisation) to disclose (albeit figuratively) the complex anatomy of bourgeois societies organized under the dominance of the capitalist economy in its inclusive sense (an accumulation regime plus its social structure of accumulation). Once concepts and arguments are introduced on more concrete and complex levels of analysis, however, both reductionism and figurative language could be expected to disappear (cf. Woodiwiss 1990). Instead attention could be focused on the structural coupling and co-evolution of different structural forms, social practices, and discursive systems in the reproduction-regulation of the economy in its inclusive sense. In developing such an approach one would be building upon Marxian principles of analysis and round out his attempts to grapple with the complexities of the relationship between base and superstructure.

It is in this context that we can understand the regulation theorists’ concern with institutions and the transformative potential of social action. For they are interested in how long waves of capitalist expansion and contraction are mediated through particular institutions and practices which modify the general laws and crisis tendencies of capitalism. They claim that relatively stable capitalist expansion over any extended time period depends on quite specific extra-economic, as well as economic, institutions and practices. They stress that the co-presence and coherence of these institutions and practices cannot be taken for granted but depends on a varying mixture of chance events, conscious class struggle and social action, and economic tendencies which operate ‘behind the backs of the producers’. Accordingly they argue that capitalist reproduction is both contingent and precarious: it proceeds smoothly (albeit cyclically) only so long as its inherent tensions, conflicts, and contradictions can be contained through a suitable mode of regulation. Thus each stage of capitalism is analysed as a long wave of economic expansion and contraction with its own distinctive industrial paradigm, accumulation regime, and mode of regulation which together endow it with its own cyclical patterns and forms of structural crisis. Moreover, as a long wave (rather than a long cycle)[vi] account of capitalist dynamics, the regulation approach treats the succession of stages as discontinuous, creatively destructive, and mediated through class conflict and institutional change.

This perspective clearly analyses the economy in its inclusive sense. Thus the self-valorisation of capital cannot be understood in terms of some automatic mechanism of self-reproduction. Instead it involves continuing reproduction-regulation of the complex social relation between capital and wage-labour on various sites not only within the economy in its narrow sense but also in the wider, more encompassing field of social relations. In this context the state comes to play a key role. This goes well beyond narrow economic intervention to secure the general external conditions for the circuit of capital (such as money and law), the general conditions for capitalist production (such as the reproduction of wage-labour[vii] or infrastructural provision), or the smooth operation of economic cycles (thanks to structural and/or conjunctural policies). Refusing to limit the state’s role to these activities by no means involves a denial of their importance to economic reproduction. Indeed leading Parisian theorists emphasize the crucial role of the state in securing the wage relation in all its complexity and in managing the mutual correspondence of the different structural forms of regulation over time (cf. Aglietta 1979: 32, 383; Boyer 1986: 53). But we should also recognize the role of the state as an important factor (if not the most important) in securing social cohesion in class-divided societies and hence dealing with the political repercussions of the necessarily uneven, crisis-prone course of capitalist expansion. In exploring this key role we go beyond the economy in its narrow sense to study the socially embedded, socially regulated character of capital accumulation.

This is reflected in several regulation-theoretic studies which adopt a much wider focus and consider the state as the institutional embodiment of a class compromise which extends well beyond the wage relation. In addition to Parisian theorists and their followers, we can also cite here the West German, radical American, and Amsterdam regulation schools. Thus, as well as showing how French public expenditure has been influenced by the socialisation of productive forces and the impact of foreign and military factors, Delorme and Andre have also shown how they reflect and entrench specific class compromises (1983). Likewise West German theorists study the state’s role in actively constituting a power bloc and, as a hegemonial structure, underwriting specific accumulation strategies and patterns of societalisation. Häusler and Hirsch further argue that the party system plays a key role in mediating between the state and individuals and institutions in society. Its special function in the complex of regulatory institutions is to constitute, express, direct, filter, and aggregate the many pluralistic, antagonistic interests in society to defuse class antagonisms and render their expression compatible with accumulation (Häusler and Hirsch 1987: 655-7; cf. Hirsch 1990). The American radicals see the postwar US-American state as involved in even more institutionalised accords: these are the accords between capital and labour, among citizens over democratic rights and politics, among nations in international economic and political regimes, and among firms and fractions of capital concerning competition on the American domestic market. They also stress that the democratic state is a site of conflict between the logic of capital and the logic of citizenship (e.g., Bowles and Gintis 1982; the same point is noted by Breton and Levasseur 1989). And the Amsterdam school stresses the state’s central role in implementing a ‘comprehensive concept of control’ (i.e., a hegemonic economic and political paradigm governing class relations) at home; and its equally crucial role in acting either as a relay for transnational concepts or else as a brake on their penetration (e.g. Holman 1987-8; van der Pijl 1988, 1989). Whilst these approaches often stress class struggle and the hegemonic role of specific fractions of capital, they nonetheless grant the state a central role in constituting and managing this struggle.

Finally we should refer to Jenson’s recent development of the Parisian regulation approach to include discourse theory and the dialectic of structure and agency. She notes that her work ‘starts from the observation that the state does play a regulating role in capitalist societies but returns to the social relations of civil society to determine how that role has been played in [each] particular case’ (Jenson 1990: 658; cf. Jenson 1989). This leads her to undertake concrete analyses of historically developed sets of practices and meanings which provide the actual regulatory mechanisms governing a specific mode of growth and/or a specific ‘societal paradigm’ which covers a wide range of social relations extending beyond the realm of production. Adopting such an approach means that an economic crisis involves more than some final encounter with certain structural limits. It is also both manifested and resolved within the interdiscursive field or representational system through which social forces assert their identities and interests. Thus, according to Jenson, newly visible and active actors will emerge during a crisis and participate in the expanding universe of political discourse. They will begin to present alternative modes of regulation and societal paradigms and engage in political conflict over the terms of a new compromise. If, as a result of conflict within the universe of political discourse that is linked to the emergence of new structural relations, a new model of development emerges, then another set of rules for recognizing actors and defining interests for the future will also then exist’ (cf. Jenson 1990: 666).

It is hardly surprising that regulation theorists have discussed the state’s role in the expanded reproduction-regulation of the economy. For, in focusing on the economy in its inclusive sense, they cannot ignore the state’s role in managing the institutionalized compromise which governs its reproduction as an ‘accumulation regime + social structure of accumulation’. Even less could they ignore the state’s activities in securing crucial extra-economic conditions for the self-valorisation of the of capital (or economic reproduction in its narrow sense). Nonetheless regulation theorists often neglect or distort the role of the state. This is mainly due to the uneven development of the regulation approach itself, which originated among economists opposed to general equilibrium theory in orthodox economics and/or more structuralist currents in Marxist economics. Thus most regulation theorists simply introduce the state into their account of regulation and/or subsume it under a general account of the structural forms through which regulation is achieved. With some few exceptions, they adopt an already available account of the state to fill out their radically new approach to the economic region. They have not really applied the same approach to the state itself nor have they tried to integrate more adequate state theories. Yet, as I have noted in the first section of this paper, there is at least one account of the state which is quite commensurable with the regulation approach to the economy in its inclusive sense and can be combined with it.

Indeed, if one takes the regulation approach seriously, it should apply to the state as well as the economy. Three points above all should be evident. First, the state is neither an ideal collective capitalist whose functions are determined in the last instance by the imperatives of economic reproduction nor is it a simple parallogram of pluralist forces. It is better seen as an ensemble of structural forms, institutions, and organisations whose functions for capital are deeply problematic. This ensemble is structurally coupled to the economy in many ways and intervenes into its operations at many different points in the circuit of capital. There is no reason to expect that the boundaries of the state and economy should coincide or that their structural coupling should prove mutually beneficial. Second, the state’s unity is as underdetermined at the level of state form(s) as accumulation is at the level of the value form. Thus, just as accumulation strategies are needed to give a certain substantive unity and direction to the circuit of capital, state projects are required to give a specific state some measure of internal unity and to guide its actions. In this sense the state should be seen as an object in need of regulation as well as an active subject of regulation. And, third, securing the conditions for capital accumulation or managing an unstable equilibrium of compromise involves not only a complex array of instruments and policies but also a continuing struggle to build consensus and back it with coercion. Taking these three points together, then, the state itself can be seen as a complex ensemble of institutions, networks, procedures, modes of calculation, and norms as well as their associated patterns of strategic conduct.

All this suggests in turn that the state cannot just be seen as a regulatory deus ex machina to be lowered on stage whenever the capital relation needs it. Instead the state itself must be an object as well as agent of regulation. But the specific form of the state ensemble gives the political sphere its relative autonomy and means one cannot treat politics just as ‘concentrated economics’. Indeed much recent work on regulation has emphasised how the fragmented structure of the state affects its capacities to engage in economic management or crisis-resolution and, conversely, how its sui generis dynamic and the structural legacy of institutionalised compromise mean that it has a certain inertial force (Delorme and Andre 1983, Delorme 1987, Baulant 1988). We will need to incorporate these arguments into our accounts of the roles of the Keynesian welfare and Schumpeterian workfare states in the regulation of the economy in its inclusive sense.

3) Neo-Gramscian Theory and the Economy

The ‘decisive economic nucleus’ of political class domination has tended to receive less attention from neo-Gramscian state theorists than the state (in either its narrow or its inclusive sense) has had from regulation theorists. For their concern with the modalities of state power has led neo-Gramscian analysts to focus more on the relationship of government to the wider political system, to the organization of civil society, and to the universe of political discourse. Neo-Gramscian theorists are typically interested in intellectual, moral, and political leadership rather than the nature and forms of state economic intervention. Moreover, even when they do consider the latter, they typically do so in relation to the subordination of narrow technical and economic issues to the wider problem of managing the ‘unstable equilibrium of political compromise’. In turn this means that neo-Gramscian theorists direct their attention to the nature of accumulation strategies, their place within hegemonic projects, and their implications for the overall balance and thrust of state activities. This suggests that the decisive economic nucleus is best understood integrally, i.e., in terms of the state’s role in constituting and managing an accumulation regime and its social structure of accumulation. The key stake from a neo-Gramscian viewpoint, then, is not the self-valorisation of capital as such. For this follows an anarchic trajectory shaped by the dominance of the value-form and lies beyond any direct state control. The crucial stake is rather the management of the social structure of accumulation so that the political repercussions of accumulation prove compatible with the maintenance of political class domination and the economic repercussions of the state system prove compatible with accumulation.

Thus we might expect the economy to figure in several ways in a neo-Gramscian account of the state. In its narrow sense it is a source of revenue to finance the activities of a tax state (Steuerstaat) as well as a contested terrain for intervention at different points in the circuit of capital to re-allocate use- and exchange values for political purposes. In addition the changing dynamic performance of the economy in its narrow sense will have more or less serious political repercussions which require more or less intensive crisis-management. This may involve attempts to guide the economy in less disruptive directions and/or to defuse or displace any adverse political repercussions. Considered from the viewpoint of an accumulation regime and its social structure of accumulation, moreover, the economy has a central role in the integral state and the ongoing struggle for hegemony. For the complex of institutions, organizations, social networks, modes of calculation, and norms of conduct that constitute a social structure of accumulation form an important part of the overall configuration of ‘political + civil society’. This is far from meaning that the integral economy and the integral state are identical. Instead it suggests that social relations comprise a field of struggle with potential contradictions and conflicts between projects concerned to re-organize this field under a dominant accumulation strategy, a dominant state project, a dominant hegemonic project, or some other societalization strategy. The most favourable conjuncture from a neo-Gramscian viewpoint, of course, would be one where a hegemonic project (a) subsumes a feasible accumulation strategy and (b) is sustained by an historic bloc in which the integral economy and integral state are closely coupled and mutually reinforcing. But there are many examples of conjunctures where there is no such coincidence or complementarity between accumulation strategies and hegemonic projects and where their respective structural preconditions cannot be reconciled in the short-run. In these cases the social formation is typically shot through with structural contradictions and unresolved crises of hegemony lead to a greater emphasis on state coercion and ‘economic-corporate’ forms of behaviour.

4) Changes in the Global Economy

This section briefly describes four key tendencies and trends discernible in contemporary capitalism. These are the increasing impact of new technologies, the growing internationalisation of the world economy, the shift from a Ford-ist to a post-Fordist paradigm, and the changing regional hierarchies in the world economy. No such list of tendencies and trends can be entirely innocent, of course; and this is particularly clear for the last two tendencies. But, as will be demonstrated below, each has major implications for the development of the economy in its integral sense.

  • new core technologies are becoming the motive and carrier forces of economic expansion. They include: microelectronics, telecommunications, data processing, optical technologies, robotics, new materials, renewable energy sources, and biotechnology. Their mastery is critical to economic expansion and structural competitiveness yet few firms are likely to have the skills, capital, and knowlege to master them completely. Many are so knowledge- as well as capital-intensive that their development depends on extensive collaboration among many economic, scientific, and political interests. This is associated with increasing international technological competition as well as increased state concern to encourage technological innovation and transfer – especially in the advanced industrial economies. For, given the competitive pressures from low-waged NICs in low-tech products, this could be a source of continuing competitive advantage, permitting both innovation rents and high wages.
  • the internationalization of financial and industrial flows involves ever more firms, more markets, and more countries. This tendentially homogenizes economic space as leading edge technologies are diffused, product and capital markets become international, foreign direct investment is undertaken by all metropolitan powers, a small but increasing number of NICs develop their own multinational companies and banks, and post-socialist economies are also drawn into the process. This does not mean that the operations of global firms are identical from country to country nor that they will ever become equally dispersed across the globe; it does mean that they are subject to an overall strategic plan which is formulated on a global scale. In turn this has major implications for the role of nation states and for the concept of the ‘national’ economy as a natural unit of the world economic order. One crucial effect is that national economic space is no longer the most obvious starting point for promoting economic growth, technological innovation, or structural competitiveness. This is more and more reflected in the transnational strategies of firms and states alike. This tendency is evident not only in advanced capitalist economies but also established and more recent NICs.
  • there has been a paradigmatic shift from a Fordist growth model focused on mass production, scale economies, and mass consumption to one concerned with flexible production, scope economies, and more differentiated patterns of consumption. This shift provides an important framework for making sense of the current crisis and imposing some coherence on the search for routes out of the crisis. It is accompanied by a crisis of US economic hegemony (with which the Fordist paradigm is especially identified) and an emerging struggle between the USA, Germany, and Japan to define a hegemonic post-Fordist paradigm. At stake today in international competition is the competitive struggle to switch quickly and smoothly among innovative products and processes with each new product offering better functional qualities and improved efficiency in production.
  • the macro-economic global hierarchy is being reshaped as concepts such as the European Economic Area and the Pacific Rim Economic Community are promoted to challenge the economic dominance of the US sphere of economic influence. For our purposes the most important of these new regional concepts is the accelerated economic integration of the EC which was begun as a deliberate move to overcome ‘euro-sclerosis’ and to build Western Europe up as a ‘triad power’. The recent agreement to set up a European Economic Area is even more significant for the future – especially as it holds the promise of associate membership for the former COMECON economies. But one should note that this is likely to deepen existing trends towards centre-periphery relations within Europe: in addition to a solid core of strong economies we can expect to see a Southern European semi-periphery, a North African and Eastern Mediterranean periphery, a Baltic periphery, and loose ties to an East European periphery. Within this context there will also be a significant re-emergence of regional economies organized around specific countries or growth poles (e.g., a Baltic region encompassing Scandinavia, Poland, north-eastern Germany, and the Baltic republics) as well as growing interpenetration of the so-called triad powers themselves (USA, Germany, and Japan).

These four trends have clear implications for the economic functions of the state in the current restructuring of the world economy. For ease of presentation we will deal with them in the same order as they were introduced above. But this implies neither that each trend is associated with a specific set of economic functions of the state nor that these trends will somehow call forth the appropriate state capacities to perform such functions.

First, given the growing competitive pressures from NICs on low cost, low tech production and, indeed, in simple high tech products, advanced capitalist economies are trying to move up the technological hierarchy and specialize in the new core technologies. States have a key role here in promoting innovative capacities, technical competence, and technology transfer so that as many firms and sectors as possible benefit from the new technological opportunities created by R&D activities undertaken elsewhere in the economy. Moreover, given the budgetary and fiscal pressures on states as national economies become more open, states must shift their industrial support away from efforts to maintain declining sectors as they are presently structured and towards their technological renewal and/or replacement by ‘sunrise sectors’.

Second, as internationalization proceeds apace, states can no longer act as if national economies were effectively closed and their growth dynamic were autocentric. Small open economies had long faced this problem; now even large, relatively closed economies must confront it. In particular the macro-economic policy instruments favoured by the Keynesian welfare state become less effective with growing internationalization and must be buttressed or replaced by other measures if traditional postwar policy objectives (such as full employment, economic growth, stable prices, and sound balance of payments) are still to be secured. In almost all cases states have become more involved in managing the process of internation-alization itself in the hope of minimizing its harmful domestic reper-cussions and/or of securing maximum benefit to its own home-based trans-national firms and banks. They must get involved in managing the process of internationalization and creating the most appropriate frameworks for it to proceed.

Third, as the dominant techno-economic paradigm shifts from Fordism to post-Fordism, the primary economic functions of states are redefined. Fordism was typically associated with a primary concern with demand management within national economies and with the generalization of mass consumption norms. This reflected the belief that Fordist mass production was supply-driven and could only be profitable when high levels of demand were maintained and markets for mass consumer durables expanded. The class compromise supporting the Fordist Keynesian welfare state also encouraged this pattern of economic intervention. But the transition to post-Fordism is prompting a reorientation of the state’s primary economic functions. Indeed, the combination of the late Fordist trend towards international-ization and the post-Fordist emphasis on flexible production has encour-aged many states to focus on the supply-side problem of international competitiveness and to attempt to subordinate welfare policy to the demands of flexibility. Thus we can speak of a shift from the Keynesian welfare state to the Schumpeterian ‘workfare’ state. This does not mean that all states will become alike with the transition to post-Fordism: the emerging political regime is already assuming various neo-liberal, neo-corporatist, and neo-statist forms shaped by institutional legacies and the prevailing balance of political forces.

Fourth, as the forms of internationalization become more contentious and conflictual and competing strategies evolve around the triad powers, states must address the political as well as economic repercussions of the changing international order. There is a complex dialectic at work here. For, besides globalization and the formation of supra-regional triad economies, there are also trends towards the re-emergence of regional and local economies within the nation-state. In certain respects this is associated with a ‘hollowing out’ of the nation-state as powers are delegated upwards to supra-regional or international bodies, downwards to regional or local states, or outwards to relatively autonomous cross-national alliances among local states with complementary interests. Even so the nation-state retains a key role in managing the changing balance of political forces consequent upon the complex and contradictory process of globalization. For it is still the most important site of struggle among competing global, triadic, supra-national, national, regional, and local forces; and social cohesion still depends on the state’s capacities to manage these conflicts.

5) The Schumpeterian Workfare State

The various changes in the global economy described in the previous section are only tendential and their development is rather uneven. In this and the next section I want to make the heroic assumption that they will become dominant so that I can then assess, from an integral economic perspective, their conjoint implications for the restructuring of the state. This involves a thought experiment that draws on already discernible shifts in state structures, activities, and strategies as well as on theoretical arguments. The latter are mainly drawn from Marxist political economy, including the almost forgotten West German ‘state derivation’ debate as well as the currently fashionable French regulation school. The empirical inspiration (evidence is probably too strong a word) comes mainly from my work on the restructuring of the British state under Thatcherism. But it has been substantially reinforced by a more casual awareness of the recent institutional restructuring and strategic reorientation of the state in the United States and elsewhere in Europe and by a growing appreciation of the distinctive forms and functions of the state in East Asia. The intention lying behind this essentially theoretical exercise is certainly not to describe specific economic regimes or state systems nor to provide detailed forecasts concerning their future development. Instead it is to suggest a novel and fruitful way of making sense of the confusion and complexities surrounding current economic and political changes by approaching them from an integral economic viewpoint. An integral political perspective would generate in turn a somewhat different (but, it is to be hoped, complementary) set of arguments about the transformation and reorientation of the state. At issue here, however, is its changing place in the social structure of accumulation.

In analysing the state from an integral economic viewpoint, I regard it as performing two fundamental tasks in promoting the expanded reproduction of capitalism. Firstly, it helps to secure the conditions for the valorisation of capital; and, secondly, it helps to secure the conditions for the reproduction of labour-power (cf. de Brunhoff 1978; Kay and Mott 1982; Jessop 1986). We can develop these ideas by referring to the current transition from the Keynesian welfare state to the Schumpeterian workfare state. The KWS and SWS concepts both refer to how this dual function is secured. Thus, whilst the first term in each concept refers to the form of state economic intervention, the second refers to the form of state social intervention. What distinguishes the two concepts is the accumulation regimes to which they correspond. For, whilst the Keynesian welfare state is an ‘integral’ element in the expanded reproduction of Fordism, the Schumpeterian workfare state is ‘integral’ to that of its successor regime. Since the linkages between Fordism and the Keynesian welfare state have often been explored, the present paper will concentrate on the ties between post-Fordism and the Schumpeterian workfare state.

The Keynesian welfare state performs two distinctive functions in addition to the generic functions of a capitalist state. Firstly, regarding the circuit of capital, it pursues a macro-economic management policy in the hope of adjusting demand to the supply-driven needs of Fordist mass production with its dependence on economies of scale and full utilisation of relatively inflexible means of production. To the extent that this involves monetary, budgetary, and fiscal policy, the KWS treats money as national money rather than an international currency.[viii] And, secondly, concerning labour-power reproduction, the KWS tries to regulate collective bargaining, to generalize norms of mass consumption beyond those employed in Fordist sectors to other workers and those outside the labour market, and to promote forms of collective consumption supporting the Fordist growth dynamic.

The economic and social functions of the Schumpeterian workfare state are quite different. Relating this emerging state form to a new type of accumulation regime, I suggest that the Schumpeterian workfare state corresponds to post-Fordism. The latter can be defined as a mode of macro-economic growth based on the dominance of a flexible and permanently innovative pattern of accumulation.[ix] As such its virtuous circle is based on flexible production, growing productivity based on economies of scope and/or process innovations, rising incomes for polyvalent skilled workers and the service class, increased demand for new differentiated goods and services favoured by the growing discretionary element in these incomes, increased profits based on technological and other innovation rents and the full utilization of flexible capacity, reinvestment in more flexible production equipment and processes and/or new sets of products and/or new organizational forms, and a further boost to productivity due to economies of scope and constant innovation. This regime can be treated as post-Fordist to the extent that it resolves (or is held to do so) crisis-tendencies in its Fordist predecessor. Among these are the relative exhaustion of the growth potential which came from extending mass production, relative saturation of markets for mass consumer durables, and (introducing for the moment the spatial dimension) the disruption of the virtuous circle of Fordist accumulation through internationalization and the problems this created for national Keynesian welfare state regulation. In these respects post-Fordism transforms mass production and goes beyond it, segments old markets and opens new ones, and is less constrained by national demand conditions.

In this context we can argue that the Schumpeterian workfare state performs two functions. Regarding the circuit of capital it intervenes on the supply-side to promote flexibility and the pursuit of economies of scope: in so far as flexibility is based on dynamic efficiency, this entails state support for product, process, organizational, and market innovation. The same emphasis on flexibility occurs in the social reproduction activities of the Schumpeterian workfare state. In using ‘workfare’ to identify the second role of this new state form, I am not restricting my hypothesis to a claim that able-bodied welfare recipients will be required to work (or prove their willingness to do so). Instead the term highlights a major reorientation of state social policy towards the demands of flexible labour markets and structural competitiveness. In this context the more usual meaning of ‘workfare’ is merely a special, neo-liberal example of the more general trend in the reorganization of social policy. In short, the SWS aims to promote the flexibility of the labour force through labour market and manpower policies and more flexible and innovative provision of collective consumption.

In both respects the SWS could be seen as post-Fordist to the extent that these new functions resolve (or are held to do so) crisis-tendencies in the KWS and help to secure the conditions for the post-Fordist virtuous circle to operate. To establish its post-Fordist character involves, then, showing how the KWS gradually created or reinforced rigidities within Fordism;[x] and suggesting how the SWS weakens or destroys these rigidities in favour of greater flexibility and innovation. Among the relevant factors here are the stagflationary impact of the KWS on the Fordist growth dynamic (especially where state economic intervention is too concerned with maintaining employment in sunset sectors); and the growing fiscal crisis of the KWS linked to the ratchet-like expansion of social consumption expenditure. These problems are reflected in two basic features of the SWS. For the latter both pursues supply-side intervention to promote innovation and is not merely retrenching and restructuring social welfare but also subordinating it to market forces. Both functions match the dynamic of the post-Fordist regime.

Whilst a comparison of the KWS and SWS could certainly be made in abstract terms such as these, the argument becomes more compelling if one introduces the spatial dimension. For there is a clear asymmetry between the Fordist and post-Fordist regimes in this regard. Whilst the Fordist regime is associated with an autocentric mode of growth in politically demarcated closed economies, the post-Fordist regime involves growing internationalization in increasingly open (and some would say politically borderless) economies.[xi] It was relative closure that helped to sustain the success of the KWS in Fordist regimes and it is increasing openness which is pushing the state in post-Fordist regimes to adopt a more Schumpeterian workfare orientation.

It must be stressed that this radical reorientation of the economic and social functions of the capitalist state is emergent and tendential. It is also one which applies more to North America and Europe than to the third pole of the emerging triadic global system. This qualification is not necessitated by the weakness of the Schumpeterian workfare model in East Asia but by the weakness of the Keynesian welfare state. For Japan, the four Asian tigers, and the third-tier Pacific Rim NICS have achieved their remarkable economic success in part through a concerted Kaldorian-Schumpeterian economic strategy in which Keynesian welfare considerations were only weakly institutionalised. In turn this reflects the relative weakness of Fordism in East Asia in comparison with North America and leading West European economies. It is the very success of the Japanese accumulation regime and its associated political system which is reinforcing the pressures in the other two growth poles (or triadic regions) to dismantle the KWS in favour of a more Schumpeterian workfare model.

6) The Hollowing Out of the Nation State

A further dimension of these changes is the subjection of the nation-state to a complex series of changes which result in its ‘hollowing out’. This term is  intended to indicate two contradictory trends: first, that the nation state still retains much of its national sovereignty (albeit as an ever more ineffective, primarily juridical fiction reproduced through mutual recognition in the international community of nations); and, second, that its capacities to project its power even within its own national borders are becoming limited through a complex displacement of powers upward, downward, and outward. Some state capacities are transferred to pan-regional, pluri-national, or international bodies; others are devolved to the local or regional level within the nation state; and yet others are assumed by emerging horizontal networks of power – local and regional – which by-pass central states and connect localities or regions in several nations.

The crucial point to stress here is not only the various formal shifts but also the practical re-articulation of political capacities. The nation-state may well continue to act as a significant institutional site and to provide a discursive framework for political struggles but its own capacities to act autonomously are decisively weakened by the shift towards internationalized, flexible (and thus also regionalized) production systems as well as by the growing awareness of the transnational character of many risks and the need for a corresponding scale of risk management. At the same time the decline of the nation-state should not be confused with the decline of national economic space in its ‘inclusive sense’. For, in the pursuit of structural competiveness, it is obvious that institutional learning poses serious problems. It is far easier to borrow technology and adapt it than to transfer the ensemble of institutions that sustain national systems of innovation. In this context the nation-state can play a key role in institutional learning and hence in promoting structural competitiveness (cf. Johnson and Lundvall 1991: 2).

First, the role of supra-national state systems is expanding. This holds not only for bodies such as the European Community but also for various regional and transnational bodies. Such bodies are not new in themselves: they have a long history. What is significant today is the sheer increase in their number, the growth in their territorial scope, and their acquisition of important new functions. In turn this reflects the gradual emergence of world society rooted in a growing number of global functional systems (economic, scientific, legal, political, military, etc.) and in wider recognition of the global reach of old and new risks. One of the most significant areas of functional expansion is in supra-national bodies’ concern with structural competitiveness within the territories that they manage. This goes well beyond concern with managing international monetary relations, foreign investment, or trade to encompass a wide range of supply-side factors, both economic and extra-economic in character.

This shift is particularly clear in the European Community. Thus, following a series of relatively ineffective attempts at concerted crisis management in various declining industries in the late 1960s and early 1970s, attention has turned to supply-side issues in new products and processes bearing above all on structural competitiveness. The EC is attempting to create world class competitors in R&D-intensive, high value-added, and high growth sectors not only by establishing the basis for the emergence of Eurofirms but also by encouraging strategic alliances of various kinds. Key areas targetted for intervention include: information technology; manufacturing technology; telecommunications; biotechnology; new materials; and marine science and technology.

Second, in tandem with the rise of international state apparatuses, we find a stronger role for the local state. Whereas local states during the KWS period operated as extensions of the central state – providing local infrastructure in support of Fordist mass production and promoting collective consumption and local welfare state policies, we are now observing ‘the slow transformation of local governments from welfare dispensaries to job-creation agencies’ (Sabel 1989: 5). This is related not only to the crisis of Fordism and the Keynesian welfare state but also to the re-emergence of regional economies as flexible specialisation becomes a driving force in competition. In this context there is increasing interest among local states in regional labour market policies, education and training, technology transfer, local venture capital, innovation centres, science parks, and so on. As a recent study of the Bundesrepublik noted, the local state ‘becomes involved in … economic activities themselves and covers more or less the whole economic circle: R&D to create new technologies, transfer to distribute the knowledge, application to shift technologies into products or production processes, subsidies to provide sites and capital for investment, creation of new markets (by public procurement or by laws and regulations especially in environment protection) and even sales promotion for international markets’ (Schlieper 1989: 117-118). In turn this is linked with the reorganization of the local state as new forms of local partnership emerge to guide and promote the development of local resources. Thus local unions, local chambers of commerce, local venture capital, local education bodies, local research centres, and local states enter into various arrangements to regenerate the local economy. This trend is reinforced by the inability of the central state to pursue sufficiently differentiated and sensitive programmes to tackle the specific problems of particular localities. It therefore devolves such tasks to local states and provides the latter with general support and resources (cf. Dyson 1989: 118). The more optimistic accounts of this trend envisage it leading to a confederation of job-creating, risk-sharing local states rooted in strong regional economies which provide reciprocal support in the ongoing struggle to retain a competitive edge. But there are also more pessimistic scenarios which anticipate growing polarization within localities as well as increased regional inequalities (cf. Sabel 1989).

Third, closely linked to the first two changes, there are also growing links among local states. Indeed Dyson writes that ‘one of the most interesting political developments since the 1970s has been the erratic but gradual shift of ever more local authorities from an identification of their role in purely national terms towards a new interest in transnational relationships’ (Dyson 1989: 1). In the European context this involves both vertical links with EC institutions, especially the European Commission, and direct links among local and regional authorities in member states. The search for cross-border support is reinforced to the extent that the central state pursues a more neo-liberal strategy but it can be found in other countries too (cf. the studies presented in Dyson 1989). Similar trends are discernible in North America with cooperation among local states in Canada and the USA (especially following the Free Trade Agreement) as well as among city governments in different provinces or states.

7) Concluding Remarks

This contribution was not intended to give even a short account of either regulation or the state in general. Either of these tasks would take far more time and space than is available here. Instead I have attempted to accomplish just three things: firstly, to show that the regulation approach involves a distinctive Marxist perspective on the economy in its integral sense and hence a distinctive account of the state; secondly, to show that this account is quite consistent with a neo-Gramscian approach to state power and could benefit from some of the lessons of that approach; and, thirdly, to offer an admittedly one-sided, regulation-theoretical account of the current changes in the form and functions of the state seen from the viewpoint of its role in the regulation-reproduction of capital accumulation. Two further tasks remain: to identify some of the limitations of the account presented above and to suggest future areas for research into the state and regulation. These tasks will be pursued in tandem.

First, although I have emphasized some complementarities between regulation theory and neo-Gramscian theory, this does not mean that the two have an identical view of the state. Rather, as I have also tried to indicate, they actually ascribe the state rather different roles in their respective accounts of capital accumulation and political class domination. On the one hand, according to regulation theory, the state’s primary role, granted always that form problematizes function,[xii] is to manage the social structure of accumulation which supports the self-valorization of capital in a given accumulation regime. From the complementary, neo-Gramscian viewpoint, of course, such a reproductive-regulatory role is inevitably linked to broader struggles over hegemony. Similarly, granted still that form problematizes function, the state’s role according to neo-Gramscian theory is to manage the unstable equilibrium of compromise so that it sustains a specific pattern of political class domination. From a regulation theory viewpoint, of course, such a coercive-hegemonic role is necessarily linked to struggles over the decisive economic nucleus potentially afforded by continuing capital accumulation. In noting these differences we have not done more as yet than identify the site of some interesting problems for both theory and practice. In particular it would certainly be worthwhile to determine theoretically and/or explore historically the improbable[xiii] structural and strategic conditions in which these two roles prove mutually supportive. And it would also be worth exploring what happens when, as seems much more likely theoretically as well as historically, they do not coincide or, in some cases, even contradict each other.

Second, in exploring current and future changes in the state from a regulation-theoretical viewpoint, I may have given the impression that an integral economic approach suffices on its own to explain the current transformation of the state. This was not my intention. Instead, proceeding from the now commonplace assumption that the dominant postwar accumulation regime and its mode of regulation are in crisis-ridden terminal decline, I have identified four general tendencies and trends which are shaping the search for new accumulation regimes and modes of regulation. These in turn provided the background against which I conducted a thought experiment to sketch the most likely changes in both the form and functions of that type of state (understood mainly in its narrow sense) which was involved most closely in the postwar boom. It is this experiment which led to the twin arguments about the hollowing out of the nation-state and the rise of the Schumpeterian workfare state. But one ought not to conclude from these results that all capitalist states in the postwar period passed through a Keynesian welfarist stage; nor that all are now destined to become Schumpeterian workfare states. Even when one allows for variant forms of both these types of state as well as of Fordism and post-Fordism (and such variants can readily be identified),[xiv]there have been other types of state and other accumulation regimes in the postwar period. For the moment all I want to stress is the increasing salience of several structural trends and strategic shifts associated with what are termed here the Schumpeterian workfare state and the hollowing out of the nation-state. Any more definite and ambitious arguments must await more concrete and complex theoretical and empirical analyses.

Third, in this latter context, it may be useful to suggest how integral economics and integral politics could be combined. Assuming for the moment that the Keynesian welfare state was dominant during the Fordist era and that the Schumpeterian workfare state is becoming increasingly dominant, two possible historical trajectories for these developments suggest themselves. One is grounded in integral economics, the other in integral politics. Thus the search for ways to diffuse and stabilize the Fordist accumulation regime could have led to the chance discovery of the political mechanisms involved in the Keynesian welfare state. Likewise the crisis of Fordism and the search for a way out of crisis may well be leading to the emergence of a ‘hollowed out’ Schumpeterian workfare state. But one ought not to overlook other possibilities. For the struggle to build and consolidate a stable political regime during the turbulent postwar era could have led to appreciation of the political virtues of the full employment and collective consumption facilitated by a mixed economy and welfare state. Likewise the various crises of this political regime and the search for a way out may well be leading to politically motivated efforts to restructure the state along ‘hollowed out’ Schumpeterian workfare lines.[xv] Moreover, if there is a coincidence of strategic interests between such integral economic and political forces, the social basis for these state forms could well prove much stronger. Conversely, where these interests are contradictory, these state forms may well be weaker. In either case it would surely be worth studying the societal effects of the structural coupling and/or strategic coordination of economics and politics. One might find a social formation organized in an integral economic manner (i.e., with the state firmly integrated into an accumulation regime and its mode of regulation); or one organized in an integral political manner (i.e., with economic management subordinate to the strategic requirements of a national-popular hegemonic project); or even the virtuous case of an historic bloc (to borrow yet another Gramscian term) where integral economics and integral politics are mutually supportive.[xvi]

Fourth, and finally, once attention shifts (as it should) from one-sided concern with economics or politics (even in their respective integral senses) to their structural coupling and/or strategic coordination, a further set of problems is placed on the research agenda. For one should investigate the systemic, institutional, organizational, and interpersonal mechanisms which determine the relative influence of economic and political factors in specific historical conjunctures. Some of the key ideas and approaches for such an investigation have already been developed by scholars concerned with the state’s role in regulation (see section 2 above). Indeed, once the economy is understood in its integral sense, as regulation theory (among many other approaches) suggests it must, it is self-evident that a socially embedded, socially regulated economy lacks the autonomy needed to be determinant in the last instance[xvii]. Instead it becomes merely one strategic terrain among others, each with its own specific systemic and institutional weight, for struggles over societalization. If the economy becomes dominant in this context it is because a complex array of specific forces have prevailed for a time in a specific historical conjuncture in more or less strategically self-reflexive attempts to constitute a social formation around the dominance of the value form. An accumulation regime and its social structure of accumulation have, in other words, become the dominant organizing principle of a given social formation. There are no guarantees that this will happen. Whether or not it does depends not only on the course of events within the economy in its narrow sense but also on events beyond it. And this is where the state (in both its narrow and its integral sense) has a decisive role to play. It will be interesting to see whether the next long wave of capital accumulation does involve, as I suspect it must, the reconstitution of the state along the lines sketched above. Only time and struggles will tell.


BIBLIOGRAPHY:

In addition to references cited in the text and footnotes I have included some additional items which have influenced the argument: more detailed support for some of the claims about the Schumpeterian workfare state and hollowing out can be found in Jessop 1992b.

Aglietta, M. (1979) A Theory of Capitalist Regulation: the US Experience, London: New Left Books.

Baulant, C. (1988) ‘Role de l’etat chez les theoreticiens de la regulation’, International Conference on Regulation Theory, Barcelona, 16-18 June.

Best, M. (1990) The New Competition, Cambridge: Polity.

Bonefeld, W. (1987) ‘Reformulation of State Theory’, Capital and Class, 33, pp 96-127.

Bowles, S. and Gintis, H. (1982) ‘The crisis of liberal democratic capitalism’, Politics and Society, 11 (1), 51-93.

Boyer, R. (1986) La theorie de la regulation: un bilan critique, Paris: Maspero-la Decouverte.

Breton, G. and Levasseur, C. (1989) ‘L’ecole de la regulation et  l’etat: l’oubli du politique’, paper for annual conference of European Consortium for Political Research, Paris, 11-15 April.

de Brunhoff, S. (1978)  Capital, Economic Policy, and the State, London: Pluto.

Castells, M. (1992) ‘Four Asian tigers with a dragon head: a comparative analysis of the state, economy, and society in the Asian Pacific Rim’, in R. Applebaum and J. Henderson, eds., States and Development in the Asian Pacific Rim, London: SAGE, 33-70.

Chesnais, F. (1986) ‘Science, Technology and Competitiveness’, STI Review, 1 (Autumn), pp 86-129.

Clarke, S. (1988) ‘Overaccumulation, Class Struggle and the Regulation Approach’, Capital and Class, 38, 59-92.

Delorme, R. (1987) ‘State intervention in the economy revisited: an outline’, unpublished paper.

Delorme, R. and Andre, C. (1983) L’etat et l’economie, Paris: Seuil.

Ernst, D. and O’Connor, D. (1989) Technology and global competition: the challenge for newly industrializing economies, Paris: OECD.

Esping-Andersen, G. (1990) The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, Cambridge: Polity.

Gramsci, A. (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks, London: Lawrence and Wishart.

Häusler, J. and Hirsch, J. (1987) ‘Regulation und Parteien im Ubergang zum “Post-Fordismus”‘, Das Argument, 165, 651-71.

Hirsch, J. (1990) Den Tiger Reiten, Frankfurt: VSA. (??)

Holloway, J. (1988) ‘The Great Bear, Post-Fordism, and Class Struggle’, Capital and Class, 36, 93-104.

Holman, O. (1987-8) ‘Semi-peripheral Fordism in Southern Europe’, International Journal of Political Economy, 17 (4), 11-55.

Jenson, J. (1989) ‘Crisis in Representation: the political economy of permeable Fordism’, Canadian Journal of Political Science,  (), pp

Jenson, J. (1990) ‘Representations in crisis: the roots of Canada’s permeable fordism, Canadian Journal of Political Science, 24 (4), 653-683

Jessop, B. (1985) Nicos Poulantzas: Marxist Theory and Political Strategy, London: Macmillan.

Jessop, B. (1990) State Theory: Putting Capitalist States in their Place, Cambridge: Polity.

Jessop, B. (1992a) ‘Fordism and Post-Fordism: Critique and Reformulation’, in A.J. Scott and M.J. Storper, eds., Pathways to Regionalism and Industrial Development, London: Routledge, 43-65.

Jessop, B. (1992b) ‘The Schumpeterian Workfare State: on Japanism and Post-Fordism’, paper presented to the Eight Conference of Europeanists, Chicago, 25-27th March.

Jessop, B., Nielsen, K. and Pedersen, O.K. (1992) ‘Structural Competitiveness and Strategic Capacities: the cases of Britain, Denmark, and Sweden’ in S.E. Sjostrand, ed., Economics, Politics, and Global Change, New York: Sharpe.

Johnson, B. and Lundvall, B. (1991) ‘Flexibility and Institutional Learning’, in B. Jessop et al., eds., The Politics of Flexibility, Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 33-49.

Kim, S.K. (1990) ‘The rise of the neo-mercantile security state: state institutional change in Korea’, Pacific Focus, v (1), Spring, 111-148.

Lipietz, A. (1987) Mirages and miracles, London: Verso.

Marx, K. (1857) ‘Introduction to the Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy’, in K. Marx, Grundrisse, Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Moulaert, F., Swyngedouw, E., and Wilson, P. (1988) ‘Spatial responses to Fordist and post-Fordist accumulation and regulation’, Papers of the Regional Science Association, 64 (1),  11-23.

Noel, A. (1988) ‘Action collective, partis politiques et relations industrielles: une logique politique pour l’approche de la regulation’, International Conference on Regulation Theory, Barcelona, 16-18 June.

Offe, C. (1975) ‘The Capitalist State and the Problem of Policy Formation’, in L.N. Lindberg et al., eds., Stress and Contradiction in Modern Capitalism, Lexington: D.C. Heath, 125-44.

Petrella, R. (1990)  ‘Technology and the Firm’, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 2 (2), pp 99-110.

van der Pijl, K. (1988) ‘Class struggle in the state system and the transition to socialism’, After the Crisis, No. 4, Amsterdam.

van der Pijl, K. (1989)

Porter, M.E. (1990) The Competitive Advantage of Nations, London: Macmillan.

Poulantzas, N. (1978) State, Power, Socialism. London: New Left Books.

Sayer, Andrew and Walker, Richard (1992) The New Social Economy: reworking the division of labour. Oxford: Blackwell.

Schlieper, A. (1989)  ‘Case studies of Local Technology and Innovation Policies in West Germany: Success and Failure’, in K. Dyson, ed., Local Authorities and New Technologies: the European Dimension, London: Croom Helm, 115-123.

Woodiwiss, A.W. (1990) Social Theory after Post-Modernism, London: Pluto Press.


[i]  In formulating these ideas I have benefitted from many intensive discussions with members of the Staatsaufgaben research group at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (ZIF) in Bielefeld (especially Claus Offe, Klaus Gretschman, Herbert Kitschelt) and with my good friends, Klaus Nielsen and Ove Kai Pedersen of Roskilde University Centre, Denmark. The fruits of my work at ZIF will appear in Jessop 1992. An extended version of some of these ideas will also appear with case studies drawn from Britain, Sweden, and Denmark under the joint authorship of Nielsen, Pedersen, and myself as ‘Structural Competitiveness and Strategic Capacities: Rethinking the State and International Capital’ in Sven-Erik Sjöstrand, ed., Institutional Change: theory and empirical findings, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1992.

[ii]  There are other variants of regulation theory and even the Parisian version is far from unitary (see Jessop 1990a). But the Parisian approach provides the most useful starting point for an integral economic analysis of the kind tried here. I will also draw on recent German efforts to introduce regulation theory into work on the strategic selectivity of the capitalist state.

[iii]  Strategic selectivity refers to the structurally mediated bias which means that particular forms of state privilege some strategies over others, access by some forces over others, some interests over others, some time horizons over others, some coalition possibilities over others. A given type of state, a given state form, a given form of regime, will be more accessible to some forces than others according to the strategies they adopt to gain state power.  And it will be more suited to the pursuit of some types of economic or political strategy than others because of the modes of intervention and resources which characterise that system (see Jessop 1990).

[iv]  The three volumes of Capital correspond essentially to the proposed books on capital, landed property, and, in part, that on wage-labour. See: Oakley 1983, 105-113; and Rosdolsky 1977: 40-62.

[v]  The reproduction of the real-concrete as a concrete-in-thought involves both movement from abstract to concrete along a single dimension of abstraction and the combination of concepts drawn from different dimensions of abstraction. It is this latter movement which I refer to as that from simple to complex (cf. Poulantzas 1968; Jessop 1982).

[vi]  Long wave and long cycle theories can be distinguished as follows. Whilst both identify long waves of economic expansion and contraction, the former do not seek to identify a single causal mechanism which explains both the dynamic of individual long waves and the transition between them; the latter do regard the transition between periods as having a single causal mechanism (or set of mechanisms) which remains the same across succeeding cycles. Thus long wave theories emphasize the ruptural, discontinuous form of economic reproduction-regulation and search for the conditions leading to each long wave in chance historical discoveries.

[vii]  The generalisation of the wage-form to labour-power does not mean that it has really become a commodity but that it has assumed the (fictitious) form of a commodity. Wage-labour is not produced as a commodity in a capitalist labour process for immediate sale on a labour-market but is reproduced in many different social contexts in civil society and the state as well as the economy in its narrow sense.

[viii]  As we shall see below, money has two contradictory functions in a capitalist economy: as a national money circulating within a productive system and as an international currency traded between different productive systems. The former function is dominant in the KWS, the latter predominates in the SWS. On this distinction, see: Aglietta 1986; Borrelly 1991.

[ix]  It is insufficient to define post-Fordism in terms of flexibility alone: all accumulation regimes contain elements of flexibility and, as Piore and Sabel have emphasized, flexible specialization regimes also pre-dated Fordism (Piore and Sabel 1985). The novel element in post-Fordism is the way in which flexibility is shaped and enhanced by a new techno-economic paradigm in which the search for permanent innovation is institutionalized.

[x]  This is not to deny that it also provided some measure of flexibility on the demand side to compensate for the already rigid supply-side position.

[xi]  In this context we are talking of economies in the narrow sense; in their inclusive sense, all economies are politically bounded (see below).

[xii]  This is one of the central lessons of the state derivation debate: see, for example, Hirsch 1976.

[xiii]  Regulation theorists argue, correctly in my opinion, that regimes of accumulation and modes of regulation are inherently improbable social achievements (e.g. Lipietz 1985). A close reading of Gramsci would suggest much the same about hegemony (Gramsci 1971).

[xiv]  On variant forms of the Keynesian welfare state, see Esping-Anderson (1990); on variant forms of the Schumpeterian workfare state, see Jessop (1992b); and on variant forms of Fordism and post-Fordism, see Jessop (1992a).

[xv]  Castells has recently suggested that the four East Asian developmental states (South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore) moved in this direction because their state managers were concerned with national survival; initially export-oriented economic development was simply the means to this end (Castells 1992). On South Korea, see also: Kim 1990.

[xvi]  These suggestions need much more elaboration, of course, before they could provide a focus for research. They are only included to hint at the heuristic potential of a regulation-theoretical, neo-Gramscian analysis.

[xvii]  I have advanced this argument in more detailed, but rather different, terms in my recent book on state theory: see Jessop 1990.

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