WU Vienna University of Economics and Business
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This paper aims at integrating macroeconomic and institutional analyses of long run dynamics of capitalism with material flow analysis. We investigate the links between accumulation and socio-metabolic regimes by studying French capitalism from a material perspective since 1948. We characterize its social metabolism both in production- and consumption-based approaches. We show that the periodization of accumulation regimes in terms of Fordism and Neoliberalism translates into material terms. The offshore materiality of Neoliberalism partly substitutes for and partly complements the more domestic materiality inherited from Fordism. The transition phase between the two socio-metabolic regimes clearly corresponds to the emergence of the offshoring-financialization nexus of French capitalism indicating the shift from the fordist accumulation regime to the neoliberal accumulation regime. Acknowledging that socio-metabolic regimes have their own logic, we highlight strong inter-linkages between accumulation and material dynamics and discuss how materials may be instrumental in shaping accumulation regimes. This work therefore illustrates the relevance of combining institutional macroeconomics with methods and approaches derived from Ecological Economics.