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Capitalist Forms and the Essence of Capitalism

Опубликовано на портале: 19-01-2007
Review of International Political Economy. 1999.  Vol. 6. No. 1. P. 1-26. 
This article proposes a classification of capitalist forms on the basis of two concepts, 'property rights regimes' (PRRs) and 'accumulation governance structures' (AGSs). The former defines the way in which the ownership of wealth and surplus value is distributed, the latter the institutional systems governing the uses of surplus value to sustain accumulation. Three PRRs-'concentrated private property', 'diffused private property' and 'state property'-and four AGSs-'goods markets', 'companies markets', 'external hierarchies' and 'internal hierarchies'-are defined. Various historical forms of capitalism are described as resulting from particular combinations of PRRs and AGSs. Then a few ideal types are outlined: 'classical capitalism', 'market-oriented corporate capitalism' and 'bank-oriented corporate capitalism'. Finally a hypothesis is advanced as to how capitalism evolves, namely that historical transformations of PRRs and AGSs tend to pave the way for the emergence of 'autonomous capital': accumulation is controlled through complex systems of external hierarchies among firms; the large concerns which are in command of these hierarchical structures are collectively self-owned and formally controlled by their managers through strategic cross-shareholding; no external shareholder exerts effective control.