Re: [OPE] Are Regulation Theorists Marxists?

From: <>
Date: Thu Aug 20 2009 - 02:25:21 EDT

Hi all,
there are two issues on this subject.
First, how we define Marxism and, second, if Regulation fulfills these criteria.

Regarding the first I think it is problematic to accept everything at face
value, i.e. if he simply declares himself a Marxist. I also think that Marxism
is not a 'basket of theoretical elements and different varieties' (as many open
or covert post-modernists argue) and one can choose those that he prefers. I
think that a general adherence to historical materialism and a position on the
side of the exploitated toiling classes is a good start. However, it is not
sufficient, since exploitation - and the liberation from it - have to be
defined. Now someone can be anti-capitalist without being a Marxist as well.
That is, he may advance a different theory of exploitation. However, for
Marxists exploitation is being proved on the basis of the LTV. Thus, for being
a Marxist strictu sensu adherence to LTV is necessary. On the other hand, a
distinction could be made between Marxist-inspired theories (that is approaches
inspired by or borrowing elements from Marxism) and Marxism per se.

Regarding the status of Regulation: I have tried both in my PhD dissertaion
(back in 1990) and in several papers (in Science & Society, RRPE etc.) to show

(a) it began by promising to renovate Marxism. In that it posed several
interesting questions (particularly regarding the periodisation of capitalism).
On the other hand it draw from a series of other different theoretical currents
(Keynesianism and institutionalism being the more prominent among them). This
was its golden era of popularity.

(b) it slowly moved away from Marxism. The initial adherence to Marxism and LTV
(in Aglietta's work) was relativised and afterwards discarded in favour of an
eclectic approach. It 'middle-range' methodology (i.e. the rejection or the
agnosticism towards a grand theroy) - as I tried to show - was crucial in this
trajectory. This was coupled with a move towards the then emerging
post-structuralism and afterwards post-modernism.

(c) today it has more or less openly thrown away the Marxist label and some
Regulationists (e.g. Aglietta) have become idiosyncratic mainstreamers (or
heterodox) and the majority would prefer the label of institutionalism.

Overall, I argued that today Regulation is in a state of demise and that it have
ceased to adhere to Marxism. The adoption of an un-Marxist (and I try to use
moderately this word) 'middle-range' methodology - in contrast to dialectical
materialism - and the rejection of LTV (in favour of a suis generis
institutionalism) were crucial in its trajectory away from Marxism.


Stavros Mavroudeas

Quoting Anders Ekeland <>:

> Hi all,
> I agree with Ian on this issue, which is just a
> question of conceptual clarity. There are many
> interpretations of Marx, but the LTV - meaning
> that the value of goods ultimately - for
> reproducible goods - depend on labour time is
> absolutely basic. Almost all important insights
> of Marx depend on the LTV-basis.
> Either you are without a value theory - which is
> completely un-Marxian - or you have a "revealed
> preference" theory - a marginalist one - which is
> clearly anti-Marxian. Tertium non datur.
> In the case of the regulation school I think you
> would find all shades, LTV'ers, un-decided, and
> "utilitists". Mostly it is a non-issue for them = an un-Marxian attitude.
> This has nothing to do with the fact that the
> transformation problem, the heterogeneous labour
> problem, productive and unproductive labour,
> commodity money vs. fiat money etc. That is all
> un-resolved questions of the Marxian LTV-paradigm.
> IMO intellectual honesty demands that non-LTV
> economist, use terms like "Marx-inspired",
> "building on some of Marx insights" - like
> Schumpeter, Robinson et al - both excellent
> economists, inspiring/challenging to read - but not Marxist economists.
> The same goes for economist working inside a
> static, linear algebra paradigm. Marx is
> fundamentally dynamic, despite the fact that he
> maybe with hindsight sometimes tried to prove his
> point in the stiff (not entirely static) theoretical framework of Ricardo.
> My two cents
> Anders
> Regards
> Anders
> At 20:34 19.08.2009, you wrote:
> >Hi DGöçmen , I think there are Marxist
> >theories and not only one. I
> >recall David Gordon (important theorist of
> >Social Structure of Accumulation School SSA,
> >passed away some years ago) asserting: "I am
> >Marxist and I am not willing to discuss it".
> >SSA and French Regulation School are eclectic:
> >Marx+Keynes+Institutionalism (Veblen).
> >In my view eclecticism is contradictory; however
> >I think that is necessary to be respectful with
> >eclectic Marxisms (like Regulation Schools).
> >I think, non-eclectic Marxism is the right one
> >but it do not imply that I reject Regulation
> >School at all. On the contrary I am sure that non-eclectic Marxism
> >should learn from SSA and French Regulation Schools.
> >In short, I think that Regulation theories are
> >Marxist if they accept such adjective.
> >
> >
> >saludos
> >Alejandro Valle Baeza
> >
> >
> >DGöçmen wrote:
> >>Dear All,
> >>can the regulation theories classified as
> >>Marxist, if yes, in what sense, and if not why?
> >>Is there a Marxist critique of regulation
> >>theories that takes into account the varity whitin the regulation school?
> >>Thanks for your replies and references in advance.
> >>
> >>D.Göçmen
> >>
> >>
> >>D.Göçmen
> >>
> >>------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Received on Thu Aug 20 02:30:54 2009

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