Chapter

From System to Process

Wolfgang Streeck

in Re-Forming Capitalism

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199573981
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702136 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573981.003.0009
From System to Process

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The notion of complementarity, or how two institutions enhance each others' performance, belongs in a functionalist view where social structures are explained by the tasks associated with these structures, and where social structures were made to optimize the attainment of a certain goal. Endogenous changes in institutions usually lead to continuous improvement of institutions or to the reestablishment of the prerequisites for optimal performance after a shock that temporarily alters the functional equilibrium of the social order. Because of complex demands, it becomes difficult to determine an institutional design that will benefit its constituents and that could account for gradual, parallel, and systemic institutional changes in Germany. The implications of both positive and negative externalities are considered in attaining functional equilibrium since looking at these and allowing dysfunctions in the relations between social institutions allows more kinds of institutional change than just adaptation.

Keywords: complementarity; functionalist view; social structures; externalities; dysfunctions; institutional design

Chapter.  6185 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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