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1The Theory of Regulation has primarily taken a historical approach to examining the transformations and crises of capitalism and the conflicts that capitalism causes. As Karl Marx had observed, somewhat dialectically, the contradictions of capitalism prompt the creation of alternative modes of production which, he imagined, would eventually supersede capitalism. Cooperatives numbered among those nineteenth-century institutional innovations looking to build a democratic alternative to capital, and so much so that John Stuart Mill foresaw them replacing capitalist corporations. However, Marx had plainly underestimated capitalism’s capacity to adapt while Mill had overestimated cooperatives’ capacity to overtake capitalist ventures. It is logical enough, then, that the Theory of Regulation should question its own capability to account for these alternatives, their viability and their capacity to expand. This is the subject-matter of this issue’s dossier, which, leaving aside the introduction, runs to six papers and a review, all coordinated by Thomas Lamarche and Nadine Richez-Battesti.

2France’s socialists and communists in 1981 hoped, too, to “overtake” capitalism, but the hopes of alternatives (and of alternation between parties in government) ran up against various economic constraints forcing the famous “austerity turn”. Thomas Dallery and Fabien Eloire take a fresh look at this celebrated historical episode that saw the political left return to “economic realism”.

3Another embodiment of an alternative – communism – has met with its failures as everyone is aware, which has led to other historical about-turns. This is the case of China which embarked upon its transition towards the market economy by way of special economic zones, as Thierry Pairault explains to us in the Opinions/Debates section.

What proves quite a packed issues concludes with the thesis presentation by Nelo Magalhães: “Matters concerning the production of space: an environmental history of large-scale infrastructures since 1945”.

Finally, now is the time for us to announce the publication this September of a new survey of the state-of-the-art of the Theory of Regulation, which will be an opportunity for us to organize an event about which we shall have more to say.

In the meanwhile, we wish you some happy reading and a wonderful summer.

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« Editorial »Revue de la régulation [En ligne], 34 | 1er semestre | Spring 2023, mis en ligne le 10 juillet 2023, consulté le 29 septembre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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