The Limits of Regulation
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The Limits of Regulation

A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Development

Stavros Mavroudeas

This unique and original book offers a critical survey of the regulation approach, an influential theoretical school born in the 1970s and belonging to the neo-Marxist and radical political economy traditions.
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Chapter 7: Regulation and Value Theory

Stavros Mavroudeas


7.1 REGULATION AND THE LTV Value theory has never been very popular among the regulationist ranks. Aglietta’s first works, together with those of Lipietz (supplemented with the ambiguous writings of De Vroey), are the most obvious, and almost exclusive, representatives of the value-theoretical tradition within Regulation. However, as we have already seen, Aglietta’s later works with Orlean (1982) and with Brender (1984) explicitly rejected the LTV. The rest of the regulationists do not have a value theory at all. For example, Mazier et al. (1984) substitute the LTV with quantitative history and applied macroeconomics. This is enabled by the fact that value theory was never an organic theoretical prerequisite of the Regulation Approach. The existence or not of a value-theoretical framework is of no significance to the Regulation Approach, since it can be spelled out without, and independent of, value. Moreover, Regulation’s ‘middle-range’ theoretical nature militates in favour of – and at the same time facilitates – this position vis-à-vis value. The quest for a theory that is almost directly derived from and identifiable with the most immediate empirical phenomena cannot be accommodated easily with the need to search behind the phenomenal appearance of capitalist reality in order to discover and establish the role of labour and value. A middle-range approach has nothing to gain, in its own methodological terms, from such a course, which would tend merely to irritate and destabilize the positing of its questions and answers. As has been shown in Chapters 3 and 4 on Regulation’s methodology,...

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