PAX AMERICANA AND FORDISM.
FRENCH REGULATION THEORY.
- Michel Aglietta and Alain Lipietz.
- a holistic perspective: against the economism
of neoclassical economics and orthodox Marxism.
- emphasis on regulatory frameworks and
institutions (the rules that govern the production process, labor
CONCEPTUAL BUILDING BLOCS.
- Regime of accumulation: a long-term
stabilization of a particular order of production, technology and
consumption. The dominant regime of accumulation after World War
II was a largely national one based on mass consumption.
- Mode of Regulation: the set of institutional
rules and social procedures governing economic activity in a given
state or society.
- The National Bargain (sometimes called the
"Social Contract"): the relationship between capital (the business
classes), labor (the working classes) and the state (governmental
institutions and political parties).
- Pre-Fordism: 1890-1939: According to French
regulation theory, this period was pre-Fordist (even though Ford
motor company was already established) and characterized by a
national bargain which pitted capital and the state against labor.
Unions were fiercely resisted and the police used against strikers
and picketers on many occasions. The severe crisis of capitalism
called "the Great Depression" was eventually overcome by FDR's New
Deal and the deficit spending unleashed by World War II.
- Fordism: 1945-1973, here the national bargain
or social contract between capital, labor and the state is more
harmonious. Big business and big labor develop the rules governing
production together while the state after the New Deal, rather
than favoring business, takes a relatively neutral role (this is
often disputed by many who say that the state is never neutral and
is always swayed by those with the power and cash to shape the
- Post or Neo-Fordism: 1973-?, as a consequence
of the unraveling of Pax Americana, the decline of corporate
profitability, the increase in foreign competition, the
development of new production technologies, computer controlled
machine tools and lots of other factors, the Fordism national
bargain is thrown into crisis. Globalization has changed the rules
of the game.
FEATURES OF FORDISM.
- Flow-through, assembly line production for a
- use of a "just in case" inventory
- little quality control.
- Fixed/rigid machines technologies.
- single task machinery.
- limited use of computer technology.
Social contract between management and labor
involving higher wages for increased productivity.
- skilled labor is largely unionized.
- collective bargaining procedures.
- strong blue collar manufacturing jobs at heart
- highly paid workers can afford to buy the
products they produce.
- Highly regulated occupational
- hierarchical corporate structure.
- Taylorized workplace with detailed lines of
authority on plant floor.
- unemployment insurance.
- workers compensation.
- regulated and healthy workplace.
- social security.
- social medical system (in most states except
Regulated economic environment.
- the state's role is one of neutral arbitrator.
e.g. in US, National Labor Relations Board as neutral institution
- labor has a guaranteed right to