The word «fascism» comes from the Latin fasces, and means a bundle of rods with an axe in it. In economics, fascism is viewed upon as a third way between free trade capitalism and communism. Private property and the profit motive are quite welcome within fascist economy if they do not conflict with the interests of the state.
The classical expample of fascism in economics was Italy in the days of Mussolini, where it grew out of syndicalism and nationalism. The syndicalists supposed that economy ought to be governed by groups representing various industries. The nationalists put forward the idea of national struggle. Italy was a proletarian nation suffering from the unfavourable results of World War I, they said, and to win a greater share of the world’s wealth, all of Italy’s classes must unite. Mussolini was a syndicalist who turned nationalist during World War I.
In Mussolini’s Corporative State all economic decisions were made by councils composed of workers and employers who represented different trades, and who were supposed to resolve all the conflicts between classes and industries. These counsels aimed at preventing the class struggle from undermining the national struggle. All the economic life was supervised by the government.
After Mussolini became dictator in 1925, he began a program of massive deficit spending, public works, and eventually, militarism.
Preparing for the coming war, Mussolini extensively used protectionist measures to turn the economy toward economic self-sufficiency. Government bureaus had to purchase Italian products only, and increased tariffs on imports were introduced in 1931, along with high import quotas, and embargo on industrial goods.
Eventually profit motive was being reduced after Mussolini eliminated the ability of business to make independent decisions. The government now controlled all prices and wages, it regulated agriculture by dictating crops and breaking up farms. Banking system was also controlled to an extraordinary extend.
Later, in the 30s and early 40s Hitler’s nazism shared many features with Italian fascism, including the syndicalist front. Nazism, too, featured complete government control of industry, agriculture, finance, and investment.
As World War II came closer, the signs of fascism’s failure in Italy were visible: private consumption had fallen to the level below that of 1929s, and the industrial production between 1929 and 1939 was much lower than the rates for other Western European countries. Labour productivity was low and production costs were uncompetitive. The fault lay in the shift of economic decision-making from entrepreneurs to government bureaucrats, and in the allocation of resources by government decisions rather than by free markets. Mussolini designed his system to satisfy the needs of the state, not of consumers. In the end it turned out that neither was satisfied.
Слова и выражения (Vocabulary):
|feature||являть собой, рисовать|
|be welcome||быть желательным|
|World War I||Первая мировая война|
|turn nationalist||превратиться в националиста|
|Corporative State||корпоративное государство|
|aim at preventing||иметь своей целью предотвращение|
|class struggle||классовая борьба|
|massive deficit spending||значительные по объему расходы, создающие бюджетный дефицит|
|public works||гражданские работы|
|protectionist measures||протекционистские меры|
|syndicalist front||синдикалистский фронт|