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Ordres contradictoires et coordination destructive: le malaise iranien

Vahabi, Mehrdad (2006): Ordres contradictoires et coordination destructive: le malaise iranien.

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The concept of ‘mode of coordination’ captures the way economy is embedded in social relationships and influences the integration of society through an ‘instituted process.’ Three main typical or ideal modes of coordination have been identified in the literature, namely the market, the bureaucratic and the ethical (reciprocity) modes of coordination (Polanyi 1944, [1957] 1968, Lindblom 1977, and Kornai, 1984, 1992). Our purpose is to introduce another type of coordination that we name ‘destructive mode of coordination’. It is social organisation through intimidation, threat and the use of coercive means. This type of coordination has almost been entirely neglected in the literature, although it has existed since ancient times in different forms and varieties. A typical recent illustration is the social order under the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran is not the sole example in the Middle East; many others can be cited in that region as well as in Africa and Latin America. Destructive coordination also describes sectoral logic of the Military Industrial Complex in developed market economies like the United States, and in Post Socialist economies such as Russia and China. Historically, colonialism, the ‘primitive accumulation of capital’, and the Stalinist regime from 1933 to1938 may be invoked as examples from the recent past. Looting tribes and pirate colonies in the past and present provide other illustrations. Although I will refer to all these evidences, my main focus will be Iran since the 1979 revolution.

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