Pierre Laroque, the architect of French social security, emerged during the 1930s as an advocate for the corporatist management of industrial relations. Laroque's corporatist views were an outgrowth of his educational background and his experiences as a young civil servant. A member of the Conseil d'État, he came under the influence of the main doctrines of French public law. During the first half of the twentieth century, legal thinkers such as Léon Duguit and Maurice Hauriou elaborated theoretical justifications for the growing interventionism of the state. As a student of the law, Pierre Laroque became concerned with maintaining the balance between the necessity of state intervention and the preservation of individual and collective rights, thus explaining his interest in administrative decentralization. By the mid-1930s, after being assigned to the Conseil National Économique, he became interested in industrial conflict and applied a similar approach to the issue of collective bargaining. Impressed by the social achievements of Fascist Italy, Laroque advocated the corporatist management of industrial relations, an objective that he promoted in a succession of political and intellectual forums associated with the nonconformist movement. A new collective bargaining mechanism would bring together the state, business, and labor in order to mediate and resolve industrial disputes. Unlike the Fascists, however, this form of corporatism did not break with democratic or republican principles; rather, it was a decentralized administrative structure that compensated for the weaknesses of the collective bargaining process while providing a new forum for the cultivation of social solidarity.
Pierre Laroque's Search for a Democratic Corporatism
Corporatism is being reinvented in current theories about global democracy. As I see it, corporatism can be regarded as a practical way out of democracy’s intensity problem: whether those more involved in an issue should have greater say. By the same token, corporatism can be perceived as a response to the all-affected principle: whether those especially affected by a decision should have more influence. In nation-states, corporatism was to a large extent dismantled during the 1980s. In world politics, by contrast, NGOs are now called upon to play an important role in not only articulating intense and affected interests but also, in so doing, realizing a global democracy. The weakness of this argument is that today’s NGOs do not reflect the will of most people—as national organizations once managed to do—and, consequently, cannot fulfill the integrative and representative function associated with this form of interest politics.
Global Corporatism against Society
John Gledhill, Jane Schneider, Peter Schneider, Ananthakrishnan Aiyer and Cris Shore
On 2 December 2001, four days after its credit rating had been downgraded to junk bond status, the Enron Corporation of Houston, Texas, filed the biggest bankruptcy petition in the history of the United States. On the 14 March 2002, Enron’s accountants, Arthur Anderson, were indicted by a federal grand jury on the criminal charge of obstruction of justice for “knowingly, intentionally and corruptly” inducing employees to shred documents relating to Enron. Enron was thus both a stock market bubble that burst and a perpetrator of frauds that involved the complicity of many outside the company itself. The fraud element turned Enron from a flagship of the “new economy” into a “corporate scandal,” the first of several. By the end of 2002, the distinction of being the United States’ biggest bankrupt company had passed to the telecoms giant, Worldcom. When Worldcom’s accounting fraud was originally identified in June 2002, its scale was estimated at $3.8 billion. Six months later it was clear that the misreporting was vastly higher, a staggering $9 billion. The New York Times headlined the affair thus: “The Latest Corporate Scandal is Stunning, Vast and Simple” (Eichenwald and Romero 2002).
The French State between Corporatism and Globalization
Since the mid-1980s, the growth of multiplex cinemas has transformed the social, industrial, and spatial logics of film exhibition across western Europe. Pioneered in the United States, where they were developed in the mid-1970s as “destination anchors” in suburban retail centers, multiplexes first appeared in Europe in Belgium (as early as 1975), Sweden (1980), and the United Kingdom (1985). In France, multiplex development started comparatively late; a first wave of comprehensive theater modernization and rationalization, launched in the 1960s, had already created a distinctive national model of multiscreen complexes (such that one observer was moved to argue that, by the late 1980s, “without false modesty, France’s film theaters are the most attractive in Europe and among the best in the world”).
The energy revolution poses a fundamental challenge to the German corporatist institutional model. The push for renewables in Germany arose almost entirely outside the prevailing channels of institutional power. Eventually, federal legislation helped support the boom in local energy production that was already underway, and it encouraged the further development of new forms of community investment and citizen participation in energy supply. Recently, the federal government has tried to put the genie back in the bottle by shifting support to large energy producers. But, as this article shows, the energy transition has provided a base for local power that cannot easily be assailed. The debate over German energy policy is becoming a contest between centralized and decentralized models of political and economic power. Prevailing institutionalist theories have difficulty accounting for these developments. I analyze the local development of renewable energy by means of a case study of the Freiburg area in southwestern Germany, which has evolved from a planned nuclear power and fossil fuel center to Germany's “solar region”. Incorporating insights from ecological modernization theory, I show how the locally based push for renewables has grown into a challenge to the direction of German democracy itself.
Susan Carol Rogers
“Peasant Fever That Goes Beyond Corporatism,” “Peasants: Old-Style and Modern.”1 Such headlines led stories in the French press about the August 1999 attack on a MacDonald’s deep in the French hinterlands by a group affiliated with the farmers union Confédération Paysanne. The incident, noted in the American press as a colorful example of Gallic excess, drew weeks of substantial and sympathetic attention from the French press and general public, inspired vocal support from politicians across the political spectrum, and catapulted the group’s leader, José Bové, to the status of national hero. Part of the significance attributed in France to the event, as suggested by the headlines above, lay in claims that this action represented a radical new departure for farm organizations: unlike previous farmer protests—habitually no less symbolically- charged, well-orchestrated, or widely supported—this one, it was frequently said, spoke to issues of concern to society as a whole, not simply to the corporate interests of farmers.