Forty years of the French regulation school: alternating between marxism and historical institutionalism
Abstract The French regulation school originated in the mid-1970s, with the aim of developing and updating Marx’s analysis of capitalism, in order to understand the economic transformations of the twentieth century. This marks the origin of the regime of accumulation, mode of regulation, institutional forms and Fordism concepts. Since the 1980s, the school has distanced itself from Marxism and has become more concerned with developing a historical and institutional approach. It was only after 2000 that the regulation approach identified the possibility of the existence of a finance-led regime of accumulation, argued by the school to have collapsed after the 2008 crisis. The problems that the French regulation school has in understanding capitalism from the 1980s onwards are associated with an inadequate theoretical view on the basic characteristics of the capitalist mode of production.