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(1) A 20th-century bourgeois trend in the study of the state and law. In the opinion of institutionalism, the basis for analyzing problems in society, state, and law is the “institution,” by which is understood any stable association of persons for the achievement of a particular aim, for example, a family, party, trust, church, trade union, or state. Institutionalism opposes both the bourgeois individualist approach to these problems and the Marxist theory of classes and the role of classes in social development.

From the institutionalist point of view, the state, although important, is only one of many institutions embodying political power. Thus, institutionalism totally rejects the concept of state sovereignty. In its view, law established by the state is only one of many types of law, since every institution has its own laws and regulations. This approach obliterated the real essence of the capitalist state as the chief instrument of the political power of the bourgeoisie, whose role constantly increases under state monopoly capitalism. Institutionalism reflects the increasing complexity of the political structure in bourgeois society in the 20th century, for example the increased role of political parties, joint-stock associations, and labor unions and the increasing activism of the churches, but the conclusion drawn by the insti-tutionalists, that political power in 20th-century bourgeois society is an expression of the combined activity of all the various strata and groups in society, is scientifically insupportable.

After World War II certain bourgeois-reformist theories on the “diffusion of power” and “pluralistic democracy” were advanced on the basis of the ideas of institutionalism. The most prominent theorists of institutionalism are M. Huriou, G. Renard, and G. Gurvitch (France) and S. Romano (Italy) and, after World War II, G. Burdeau (France) and J. Strachey and S. Finer (Great Britain).


(2) Several distorted and oversimplified tendencies in American bourgeois political economy in the 20th century. The appearance of institutionalism in bourgeois political economy was prompted by the changing ideological and practical needs of the bourgeoisie as a class at a time when capitalism was making the transition from free competition to the monopoly stage. The institutionalists, with the aim of justifying and defending the capitalist order, substituted an apologetic description of the interrelations between institutions for the analysis of the objective laws of the capitalist mode of production. At the same time the works of some of the institutionalists, such as T. Veblen, W. Hamilton, J. Commons, and W. Mitchell, contained significant factual material on the history of the capitalist economy, especially on the history of economic cycles and crises, as well as criticism of the way in which certain capitalist contradictions manifest themselves (above all in the work of Veblen), a criticism usually expressed, however, from a petit bourgeois point of view.

There is no unified economic theory in institutionalism; it tends to fall into one of three categories. The first, the psychobio-logical, was represented by Veblen. The natural laws related to the survival of the fittest and natural selection were adapted to explain social and economic processes under capitalism, which were viewed as expressions of the “irrational psychology” of various social groups battling for survival. The second, the social tendency, was headed by Commons. Legal relations are regarded here as the decisive social and economic relations under capitalism. This approach permits the institutionalists to dispense with the actual exploitative nature of the capitalist mode of production and to depict the relations between labor and capital as those between juridical equals. The third, the empirical tendency, was represented by Mitchell and dealt primarily with the problems of economic cycles and crises. The adherents of this viewpoint tried to show that the capitalist economy could develop without crises and thus ignored the inevitability of recurring crises as a specific manifestation of the fundamental contradiction in the capitalist mode of production.

Institutionalism was one of the first currents in bourgeois political economy to describe and justify state-monopoly capitalism, which was called administrative capitalism.


References in periodicals archive ?
However, by integrating Neustadt's insights on staffing with new institutionalist theories regarding hierarchy and information, it is possible to construct and evaluate a richer, more conceptually detailed theory of the relationship between presidential power, staff, and decision making.
This asks us to ignore the traditional realists and liberal institutionalists who were also full of advice and on the scene.
Although the people who borrow from institutionalist programmes are poor, they typically belong to the non-vulnerable and moderate poor groups and thus the degrees to which they are affected by each of the elements in the investment barriers box are less.
But the two new institutionalist approaches also are at odds with each other in important ways.
For instance, the debates between the institutionalists and neoclassical economists seem overworked in the chapters in the first half of the book but, oddly, disappear in the latter half of the book.
Moreover, neither national self-help, as manifested through the major effort at military modernization since the 1980s, nor Institutionalist strategies, such as ASEAN's idea of a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), could, from a Realist standpoint, deliver small and weaker states from their dependence on external security guarantees.
I first present neorealist and neoliberal institutionalist insights into the consequences of alliance for potential conflicts among members.
The neoclassical charge that institutionalism is "measurement without theory" was false because an institutionalist theory did indeed exist, although it was not a mathematical one.
After concluding his argument about the first horn of the dilemma, Wollheim challenges the institutionalist to give `some independent evidence .
After a brief review of the institutionalist hypothesis of the long-run behavior of velocity (section II), and a description of econometric issues (section III), empirical evidence confirming the above conclusions are presented (section Iv).
Indeed, the very rhetorical structure of Dutch economic history lends itself to this institutionalist approach.
Two of the editors, Martin Eide and Helle Sjovaag, set out the new institutionalist theoretical framework, which they propose as a helpful tool to analyse the challenges facing journalism in a digital age.