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1This issue of the Régulation Review proposes a wide selection of reflective articles based on the transformations currently occurring in the worlds we live in. The main feature is devoted to « Financialization and social class ». It has been prepared by Benjamin Lemoine and Quentin Ravelli and consists of a series of contributions mingling sociological, economic and historical approaches and also including some political analysis. The contributions cover the effects of the structurally significant phenomenon of financialization on the socio-economic stratification of the population.

2Although the notion of « social class » is still associated with marxist readings, it is also present in many contemporary discussions far removed from this historical perspective. Innumerable reports published by think tanks and international strategy consulting groups identify the apparently irresistible rise of the « middle class » in the emerging economies, not to mention the current debates on the supposed virtues of the economic « trickle down » from the select class of those benefiting from financial revenues towards the other categories of population. The interest of the feature indeed lies in the way it confronts different readings of the notion of social class by observing how they are applied to the contemporary phenomenon of high levels of consumer borrowing and to the new technologies developed by the finance industry. Whether we are talking about the techniques applied to corporate governance, the strategies used to adapt to contemporary tax and finance scandals or the omnipresence of retail and bank credit throughout the lower middle and working class in Europe and in Latin America, financialization acts on society from the inside and in doing so not only alters the social relationships but also the attitudes people display towards their own social position and their vulnerability. It is this transformation that is documented by the contributors to the feature, using varying approaches and methodologies.

3In the varia section, Nicolas Béfort explores a heuristic topic for institutional analysis belonging to the field of mesoeconomic analysis: the way environmental questions are handled by large companies so as to perpetuate their economic power. Using the case of formaldehydes and their treatment by the law and by the chemical industry, the author seeks to demonstrate that decisions made in industry tend to choose their constraints rather than accept the constraints and adapt to them. This article therefore constitutes a further contribution to the regulationist analysis of the interaction between the public authorities and private interests, at a time when these questions are resurfacing in France, both regarding tax evasion and scandals in the area of food and agriculture.

4The 'opinion and debate' section touches on several different areas and methodological issues. In an interview with Pierre Alary, Stefano Palombarini and Bruno Amable re-state their neo-realist position with regard to the regulation theory, marxist theory and certain trends of the philosophy of economics. The conversation presents a general overview of their approach to the tensions between social coalitions and public policy and of their critical stance with regard to economic thinking.

5The second article, which echoes this conversation, is an account by Robert Boyer of the changing relations between orthodoxy and heterodoxy in economics. In a commentary that is both methodological and institutionalist, the author develops a point of view expressing doubts regarding the capacity of the different heterodox currents (essentially evolutionism, institutionalism, post-keynesianism and post-marxism) to offer a coherent approach capable of filling the conceptual gap left by the mainstream hypotheses of the standard model and their application in terms of economic prescription, given the increasing complexity of the processes concerned. This difficulty is due, in particular, to the impossibility observed thus far to organise the political coalitions capable of translating the approaches put forward by the heterodox currents into the sphere of public action. It remains to be shown that this impossibility is matter of contingency and not of necessity.

6Finally, in a third contribution, Quentin Duroy and Jon Wisman offer an analysis of the public monopoly on gambling in terms of normative economics. As is the case with certain investment tools, the profits promised by the gambling sector are sometimes apparently limitless. The two sectors nevertheless differ owing to the near total control that gambling institutions are able to exert on the profit that can be earned from this activity. This control is certainly not unconnected with the monopoly on gambling acquired by the public authorities at a very early date. The authors underline the fact that today, over and above ethical issues, the continued existence and continuing development of the public levy, the weight of which is largely borne by less well educated and poorer people, raises serious questions regarding distribution.

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« Editorial », Revue de la régulation [En ligne], 22 | 2nd semestre / Autumn 2017, mis en ligne le 29 août 2018, consulté le 02 décembre 2021. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/regulation.12636

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Revue de la régulation est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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