Political Economy of Modern Capitalism: Mapping Convergence and Diversity


Edited by: Colin Crouch & Wolfgang Streeck

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    To the memory of Andrew Shonfield


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    List of Contributors

    Robert Boyer is an economist, CNRS Director of Research, and Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. His present field of study is the performance and development of the labour market and the context of regulation. His publications include: Labour Market Flexibility in Europe, 1988; The ‘Regulation’School: A Critical Appraisal 1990; (with Jean-Pierre Durand) Post-Fordism, 1997; and (co-edited with Yves Saillard) Théorie de la regulation. L'état des savoirs, 1995.

    Philip G. Cerny is Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Leeds and has a special interest in the liberalization of global markets. He has published: The Politics of Grandeur: Ideological Aspects of De Gaulle's Foreign Policy, 1980; Socialism, the State and Public Policy in France (with Martin A. Schaia), 1985; The Changing Architecture of Politics, 1990; and Finance and World Politics, 1993.

    Colin Crouch is Professor of Comparative Social Institutions at the European University Institute of Florence, Professor of Sociology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. His area of study covers trade union organizations, industrial relations, occupational training and the social structure of western European countries. He has published: Class Conflict and the Industrial Relations Crisis, 1977; Trade Unions: the Logic of Collective Action, 1981; and Industrial Relations and European State Traditions, 1993.

    Philippe d'Iribarne, who is Director of Research at the CNRS (Gestion et Société), is concerned with the cultural milieu relating to systems of production characterizing different countries. He is the author of La Logique de l'honneur. Gestion des enterprises et traditions nationales, 1989; Le Chômage paradoxal, 1990 and Vous serez tous les maîtres, 1996.

    Ronald Dore is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, at which he was some time Professor of Sociology. He is a member of the British Academy, the Japan Academy and the American Academy of Arts. His publications include: British Factory: Japanese Factory, 1973; Flexible Rigidities, 1986; Taking Japan Seriously, 1987; and Will the Twenty-First Century be the Century of Individualism?, 1990.

    Jean-Paul Fitoussi is an economist and teaches at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris. His publications include: Le Fondement micro-économiquede la théorie Keynésienne, 1974; and (with E.S. Phelps) The Slump in Europe, 1988.

    Andrew Graham is Fellow and Tutor in Economics at Balliol College, Oxford. He was economic adviser to the British Prime Minister 1966–69 and 1974–76, and to the Leader of the Labour Party 1992–94. With A. Seldon, he is co-editor of Governments and Economics in the Post-War World, 1990 and with Garyn Davies he is the co-author of Broadcasting, Society and Policy in the Multimedia Age, 1997.

    J. Rogers Hollingsworth is Professor of Sociology and History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of a number of books and articles on comparative political economy. With J.L. Campbell and L.N. Lindberg, he has co-edited The Governance of the American Economy, 1991; with P. Schmitter and W. Streeck, Governing Capitalist Economies, 1994; and with Robert Boyer, Contemporary Capitalism: The Embeddedness of Institutions, 1997.

    Jonas Pontusson is Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University and specializes in the problems of political economies of the Scandanavian social-democratic type. His publications include The Limits of Social Democracy, 1992 and (co-edited with Miriam Golden) Bargainingfor Change: Union Politics in Europe and North America, 1992.

    Marino Regini is Professor of Industrial Relations at the Università degli Studi, Milan, and has published numerous books and articles on industrial relations in Italy and other western European countries. These include: I dilemmi del sindacato, 1981; (with P. Lange) State Market and Social Regulation, 1989; and Uncertain Boundaries: The Social and Political Constitution of European Economies, 1995.

    Susan Strange, Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Warwick. Formerly at the London School of Economics and European University Institute of Florence, she is one of the founders of the study of the international political economy. She has published several books, among them: Sterling and British Policy, 1977; Casino Capitalism, 1986; (with J.M. Stopford) Rival States, Rival Firms, 1991; States and Markets, 1988 and 1994; and The Retreat of the State, 1996.

    Wolfgang Streeck is Co-Director of the Max-Planck Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung in Cologne and specializes in the sociology of economics and of labour. His publications include: (with P. Schmitter) Private Interest Government, 1985; (with R. Hyman) New Technology and Industrial Relations, 1988; Social Institutions and Economic Performance, 1992; (with J.R. Hollingsworth and P. Schmitter) Governing Capitalist Economies, 1994; (with J. Rogers) Works Councils: Consultation, Representation and Cooperation in Industrial Relations, 1995.


    A full quarter century separates the publication of Andrew Shonfield's Modern Capitalism in 1965 and Michel Albert's Capitalisme contre Capitalisme in 1991, but in many respects the books are remarkably similar. Both are by men busily engaged in the world's affairs but capable of deep reflection on the wider implications of the changing economic environment. Both books rapidly had an impact on public debate in a number of countries. Both analysed and revealed the institutional underpinnings of government policy and social organization that are fundamental to the operation of economics but which are often ignored by academic economic science.

    There is however a major difference in the economic climate within which these works appeared. When Shonfield was writing his immediate British public was keen to hear of new ways that economies might be managed other than through the stereotypical alternatives of free markets and state ownership – though the variety and subtlety of his discussion of national forms of capitalism tended to be temporarily lost in the general desire to concentrate on one form in particular: planification à la française. Ironically, the Frenchman, Albert, is less interested in his own country's specific approach than in the confrontation betweeninstitutional and freemarket capitalism, captured largely in a comparison between German and US models. But the main difference in the climate of the 1990s compared with the 1960s is that there is less sympathy, at least among elites, for discussions of institutional arrangements. The prevailing orthodoxy emphasizes neo-liberal policies, deregulation and flexible labour markets, and treats most other forms of economic institution as sources of rigidity and inefficiency. At the precise time of publication of Albert's book the mood was different, which was one reason why it attracted so much attention. Since 1992 however, in the wave of disillusion with the scope for constructive public policy-making that seemed to follow the Treaty of Maastricht, an uncritical neo-liberalism has come to dominate thinking in many national governments as well as in international organizations.

    Why is this so? Is this convergence on a preference for free markets a well-founded or a panic response to intensified global competition? What are its likely implications for the institutional diversity of the advanced economies? Will they all converge on an imitation of the USA? How do the very different arguments that have led to attempts to imitate Japanese economic institutions relate to this?

    It is to answer questions of this kind that this book has been prepared. Its origins lie in the different activities of two other thinking men active in public life, and again an Englishman and a Frenchman. Sir Arthur Knight, with some associates, founded the Andrew Shonfield Association in the mid-1980s to try to bring together business people, people active in public life, journalists and academics to continue the kind of work that Shonfield had started in his several books: the practical but intellectually informed manalysis of the public policy issues facing business in western Europe and elsewhere at a time of rapid change in the global economy. It was within the framework of debates within the Association that the ideas in the present volume took shape. René Monory, past president of the Senate of France, chairman of the Conseil Régional de la Vienne, founded some years ago at Poitiers the Observatoire du Changement Social en Europe Occidentale, with similar objectives of bringing together academics and hommes des affaires to consider the future challenges confronting Western Europe. A joint initiative by the Association and the Observatoire enabled the editors to organize in October 1994 a seminar at the Observatoire in Poitiers and a larger conference in Paris, from which the chapters in this volume developed. We are indebted to all involved in both organizations, and to all who attended the two meetings, for having made our venture possible. The editors and individual contributors are of course solely responsible for the contents of the chapters, which do not necessarily reflect the views of others associated with either the Association or the Observatoire.

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