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By Alain Lipietz

Mirages and Miracles: situation in worldwide Fordism

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These were usually described as 'primitive' or 'precapitalist' (forced labour, pseudo-slavery, . "'·,",.... �' - - . - ' " . - • '0 '- _ ' . , ,_. _ • 50 quasi-feudal agriculture, ete. ) and, although they were destined to 'disappear', it was simply assumed that they would comply with the needs of the centre. Once again, theory was until the mid-twentieth century simply a reflection of the realities of the international mode of regu­ lation: the periphery felt the repercussions of 'minor crises' in the centre and amplified them (at least in the commodity sector): from the onset, a characteristic movement of the colonial export·trade in raw materials.

The few cases in which purchasing power did rise faster than prod uctivity can be better explained in terms of a slow­ ing down of produ ctivity growth. Besid es, if wage/profit distribution were the origin of the crisis, it could have been warded off by simply slowing down dire ct or indirect wage growth. A more convincing explanation takes into account the other component in the profitability of capital. [ue terms or, ill Kfarx'ist terms, to a rise in the ' organic composition 'of capital. Since then, p�oduc_tivity , r��e�_ h;;tve Jailed to compensate for Jhe rise.

If international trade is taken into account, an export department can also be identified. 5 In such cases, subdepartments can be defined in terms of modes of production which help in various ways to perform macro­ economic functions or to create the income of different social classes. Departments are not to be confused with branches and branch circuits, which relate to the concrete division of the labour process. In recent years, long-term economic studies have revealed the existence of a wide variety of regimes of accumulation.

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