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Was the corporate state more Important as Propaganda than in reality

The strength of post-war Europe seemed to be hazardously balanced against the background of the tension between Capitalism and socialism.Fascists believed they had the answer in promoting the national interest above different fractions interests. They wanted a society where all people involved in economic activity (i.e. both employers and workers) could all work together in the national interest, which in the end would bring the best result for all. This was to be based on a system of corporations, avoiding conflict of interests.Mussolini claimed that his Corporative State provided the advantages of both capitalism and Socialism, whilst avoiding each one’s weaknesses. It was a ‘third way’.The concept of the Corporative State was not totally new. It brought together a variety of existing ideas and practices about the organization of production. The Corporation represented all those engaged in a particular area of activity, employers (Federations) and workers (Syndicates) were equally represented, plus experts acted as advisors, and there were three fascist party members. Mussolini put himself as the minister or corporations and he had to approve representatives of workers and employers. The system however had two weaknesses, representatives within corporations were unbalanced, employers represented themselves while workers were represented by fascist party members. Due to this the corporation really only discussed issues Mussolini made the real decisions.Initially, Fascist unions were favored. Indeed, the syndicalist leader Rossoni had hopes of establishing powerful Fascist syndicates to improve workers’ conditions, and in 1924-25 there was a series of successful strikes. But Mussolini’s government would not tolerate such a potential threat to industrialists for long. Existing Socialist and Catholic unions, deprived of negotiating rights and harassed by the authorities, faded out of existence. Alongside this, workers were promised social improvements in the much heralded Labour Charter though this was more impressive on paper than in reality. Fascist syndicates proved unable to protect workers from powerful employers and the state. Rossoni’s hopes of a powerful syndicalist organization were dashed in 1928 when his confederation was split up. Labour was to be subordinate in the Fascist state.Over the next decade the Fascist government gradually established a system which it claimed would protect the interests of the workers and employers. Economic development would proceed through harmonious co-operation in the interests of the state. A new chamber of representatives of all aspects of the economy eventually replaced the old Parliament, so the corporative approach finally covered the political as well as the economic organization of Italy. In practice, the system amounted to a vast bureaucracy, with little real power. Though maybe more importantly from Mussolini’s outlook it was an apparent social and political experiment useful for bestowing respectability on his regime in the eyes of foreigners, and an elaborate concealment behind which corruption could flourish while Mussolini himself could pursue the very different goals which, by the 1930s, interested and became far more important to him.It is difficult to say whether by 1939 Mussolini had achieved his ideal Fascist state economically since Mussolini himself had very little knowledge in economics and probably did not know exactly what he wanted and what he could achieve. None-the-less Italy was a victim of general deflation, wage-cutting and the suppression of free trade unions; these implied the rejection of an energetic domestic market and indicated Mussolini’s priority for stability over mobility.There is many view that believe that the corporate state was not what it seemed, saying that “the corporate state system proved totally irrelevant”, “was a political experiment” for Mussolini’s own propaganda gain in “the eyes of the foreigners”It has been argued that Mussolini never took the system that seriously, except for propaganda purposes. He was concerned not to alienate the economic elite. So the Corporative State became little more than an instrument for exploitation in the workplace and a powerless sham as a national structure. Significantly Mussolini failed to ‘launch a battle for corporations’ and the slow and lethargic way in which the system was implemented reflected his caution.Overall the corporate state was a nice idea but that’s all it was it never really made a major effect it was a propaganda tool for Mussolini’s own bidding and use.

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