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Éditorial

Editorial

Traduction de Roger Miller
Cet article est une traduction de :
Éditorial [fr]

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1One of the hallmarks of the theory of regulation is to examine the way in which the old social structures are updated or enter into contradiction with the new – subsequent to more or less rapid changes – by combining political economy, institutional analysis and interdisciplinarity. In other words, the theory analyses the manner in which the old, the archaic and the new become interwoven or oppose one another to produce social and political transformation. Issue 31 of the Revue de la régulation is indeed an excellent example of this approach. It offers readers a feature covering different forms of capitalism and rentier regimes, and also a variety of non-thematic contributions: an article in the varia section on political economy, four commentaries, in addition to those included in the feature, and three thesis summaries.

2The approach is particularly apparent in the feature coordinated by Adrien Faudot and Julien Vercueil devoted to rentier forms of capitalism and to the concept of rent, which reflects the way in which the archaic phenomenon of rent is either updated or enters into conflict with the new reality. Whereas the issue of rent was relatively central to classical political economy debate, it attracted little interest between 1945 et 2000, but returned to the forefront for a certain number of emerging economies owing to the process of financialisation, the real estate bubble and the rent linked to raw materials such as oil. Some of these economies became dependent on these rents whilst others succeeded in re-investing effectively. Behind the curse of rent – whether or not the term is appropriate – a whole swathe of political economy lies hidden.

3Furthermore, the criticism of supposed rents and privileges has often been an area conducive to political mobilisation, both on the left and among liberals from the centre and the right, even though, paradoxically, rent actually favoured capital accumulation in some sectors but also backed up policies labelled as socialist. This feature affords extensive coverage of the question thanks to several contributions, namely an introduction by Adrien Faudot and Julien Vercueil, four articles, written by Hannes Warnecke-Berger, Franklin Obeng-Odoom David Leadbeater and Constantin Lopez respectively, a conversation with Jomo Kwame Sundaram, one of the best known Malaysian economists, a specialist in the political economy of development, and a commentary by Adrien Faudot devoted to Josh Ryan Collins’ book, Why Can’t You Afford a Home? on the particularly relevant question today of rents linked to real estate prices.

4The varia article by de Bruno Amable, “In search of the bloc bourgeois”, also corresponds to the approach whereby political economy examines the tensions between old structures and new forms. The article is focused on the emergence the bloc bourgeois in France, characterised by a certain attenuation of the left-right divide and partially embodied by the election of Emmanuel Macron in 2017. The analysis of data from the 2012 presidential election suggests that the impetus leading to the establishment of a bloc bourgeois was already manifest at that time. By studying the restructuring due to its emergence, notably in terms of its heterogeneity, the article underlines the difficulties created by an election strategy relying on a narrow electoral base where tensions between the aspirations of the classic left-right axis can produce a certain amount of instability. Both this article and the author’s recent book published in French under the title La Résistible ascension du néolibéralisme are extremely timely given the upcoming presidential elections in 2022.

5This issue also includes four commentaries linked to issues highly relevant today, which present problems of political economy in the light of the long-term transformation of our economies. To this effect the remarks by Sandrine Allain on the Hélène Tordjman’s book devoted to a critical analysis of green growth, and those of Céline Marty on André Gorz, explore the question of the environmental nexus. The commentary by Matthieu Montalban presents the book edited by Sébastien Lechevalier resulting from the collaboration between French and Japanese researchers entitled Innovation Beyond Technology. This question, together with its applications to health and environmental problems, are of course totally appropriate to the Covid 19 pandemic period where alternate use is made of non-technological (social distancing) and technology-dependent strategy (vaccines). Finally, Robert Boyer’s commentary concerns the book by Whittaker et al., Compressed Development: Time and Timing in Economic and Social Development, devoted to the developmentalist strategies of East-Asian economies.

6The issue also presents a summary of the theses by Tonya Tartour on the governance mode of the psychiatric hospital, by Sabine Pitteloud on the political role of Swiss multinationals between 1944 and 1993 and by Sylvain Celle on the democratic dynamic of the social economy. They all exhibit the impressive vitality of the research in political economy analysing from an interdisciplinary perspective the long-term institutional changes to the different sectors of our economies. We hope this menu will stimulate your curiosity.

Finally, we could not write this editorial without evoking the disappearance, while this issue was being prepared, of Michel Husson and Janos Kornaï, two distinguished economists who successfully analysed long-term dynamics and crises, and who commanded the respect of both the committee and the readers of the Revue.

7Michel Husson made a substantial contribution to the activity of the community of French heterodox economists, and to political economy debates in France, as a specialist in employment issues for the Institut de recherches économiques et sociales (IRES). His extensive theoretical and empirical research was often right on target. He defended Marxist economics with an econometric component and often became involved in critical dialogue with the theory of regulation; the Revue de la régulation sometimes referred to him for expert guidance in the form of assistance with evaluating certain articles. His disappearance is a great loss for his family and friends, to whom we offer our sincere condolences, but also for the entire community of heterodox economists.

8Janos Kornaï achieved renown with his comparative research regarding the capitalist and Soviet systems, and his work on the role of soft budget constraint. His contributions, which became internationally famous at the time of the fall of the Soviet Union, aroused the interest of the regulation theorists because they proposed an analysis of the crisis of the Soviet economy and underlined the importance of analysing the role of institutions. An article by Amartya Sen will be included in the varia section and a contribution to Opinion and Debate by Bernard Chavance will appear in the June 2022 issue regarding the contributions of the late economist.

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« Editorial »Revue de la régulation [En ligne], 31 | 2nd semestre / Autumn 2021 | décembre 2021, mis en ligne le 17 janvier 2022, consulté le 19 mai 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/regulation/20846 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/regulation.20846

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