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regime of accumulation

  A concept from the Regulation school of political-economic theory, referring to an extended period of relative stability or growth within the capitalist economy. Adherents to the Regulation approach accept Marx\'s basic proposition that capitalism is characterized by certain fundamental contradictions (such as the collective tendency for capitalists to economize on workers\' wages, thus ultimately reducing the effective demand for manufactured goods), and that these must be resolved, suppressed, or controlled in order for successful accumulation to occur. Hence, regulation theorists contend that different solutions to this problem have been arrived at through time and across space. As a noted member of this school asserts, \'My central hypothesis is, in fact, that the overall reproduction of the system can take different forms. It then becomes essential to make a precise analysis of the changes, both qualitative and quantitative, that have been necessary for the maintenance of capitalist relations in general in the long run\' (Boyer, 1990). Therefore Regulation theorists interpret capitalist history as consisting of a series of relatively stable periods, during which the organization of private productive activity is in some general state of balance with the organization of consumption (the level and stability of wages, and the distribution of purchasing power within society). Each regime ends in a crisis period of major instability or stagnation, and a new regime begins when new ways of organizing production are developed, supported by an appropriate new set of public and private institutions and societal norms to structure labour markets and workplace practices. (See also flexible accumulation; Fordism; post-Fordism.) (MSG)

Reference Boyer, R. 1990: The Regulation school: a critical introduction. New York: Columbia University Press.

Suggested Reading Amin, A. 1994: Post-Fordism: models, fantasies and phantoms of transition. In A. Amin, ed., Post-Fordism: a reader. Oxford: Blackwell, 1-39.



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Other Terms : postmodernity | merit good | multinational corporation (MNC)
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