Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blueprint For America: "Fascist Italy's Experiment With Economic Corporatism"

From our March 2013 post "Copyright Infringement Now Seen As Terrorism":
As Political Capitalism becomes indistinguishable from Mussolini's Corporatism it's getting close to the time where the West has to decide just what it wants to be when it grows up.

"The rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes, many of our rich men have not been content with equal protection and equal benefits, but have besought us to make them richer by acts of Congress."
Andrew Jackson (1830) Cited by Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America 1815-1846. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991, p. 62

"Capitalism's biggest political enemies are not the firebrand trade unionists spewing vitriol against the system but the executives in pin-striped suits extolling the virtues of competitive markets with every breath while attempting to extinguish them with every action."
Raghuram Rajan and Luigi Zingales, Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists. New York: Crown Business, 2003, p. 276. 
And yes, I know the distinction between Fascism and vertical syndicalist corporatism based on guilds. I'm just using a shorthand, readily understandable usage....
From Bloomberg Echoes:
What if the economy were organized in corporations, one for each trade and industry, each including owners and workers? Would capitalism’s fierce competition and wasteful failures be replaced by a cooperatively managed system?

As world economies struggled to recover from the Great Depression in the summer of 1933, politicians looked for alternatives to free-market capitalism.

In capitalism, "force plays the chief part in the settlement of industrial disputes and victory belongs to the stronger party, quite irrespective of the merits of the cases," the New York Times wrote. On the other hand, communism "recognizes no rights but those of the workers."

Italian fascism strove to find a middle way between the claims of capital and labor. Prime Minister Benito Mussolini chose the summer of 1933 to form corporatism’s key institutions: state-managed national corporations that would centralize control of production.

How to do this was a genuine puzzle, though. Guiding the process was the National Corporations Council, which was divided into sections -- agriculture, commerce, industry, land transportation, navigation, banking, liberal and artistic professions. If the sections could agree on policy, the council could regulate prices, production and markets.

Yet this didn’t entail only top-down control. If in any sector the employer and employee associations wished to restrict production by closing a factory, they could apply to their corporation on the council.

Noting the Italian program's partial resemblance to U.S. efforts to manage industrial output, competition, wages and consumption, the Economist drew several worrisome conclusions from the experiment.

First, such regulation would eventually be extended across the economy. The Soviet Union, Germany and the U.S. all confronted the Italian dilemma: How much control would be sufficient to kick-start economic renewal?...MORE 
To repeat, the West isn't doing the Mussolini "Corporatist" thing but we are doing a fascistic big business/big government hybrid that has been emerging for the last 50 years under governments of both parties.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power. "
-B. Mussolini via BrainyQuote
See also:
"Blaming Capitalism for Corporatism"
"The Left Right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. [Big] Corporations"
Newsweek: Goldman Supplied 9 Pages of Proposed Changes to Derivatives Legislation (GS)
This Big Business, Big Government, Big Union (what the Italian fascists* called 'corporatism') is antithetical to democracy.
On the other hand the totalitarian impulse has its attractions, if that's what you're into....

*...The Labour Charter (Promulgated by the Grand Council ofr Fascism on April 21, 1927)—(published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale, April 3, 1927) [sic] (p. 133)
The Corporate State and its Organization (p. 133)
The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and usefu [sic] [typo-should be: useful] instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.
State intervention in economic production arises only when private initiative is lacking or insufficient, or when the political interests of the State are involved. This intervention may take the form of control, assistance or direct management. (pp. 135-136)
Benito Mussolini, 1935, Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions, Rome: 'Ardita' Publishers.
And many more. If you care to, use the site search box keyword Mussolini.

And finally, from "Breaking: 'Chavez to join the blogosphere'":
That's what the world needs, more goofy-assed dictator bloggers.
Mugabe anyone?
Just think what Mussolini could have done with the medium.*...
...*He did have stuff to bitch about:
From Drexel University's Smart Set:

Scent of a Führer
Hitler wanted to control the world. But he couldn't even control his flatulence.
Guests at the Berghof, Hitler’s private chalet in the Bavarian Alps, must have endured some unpleasant odors in the otherwise healthful mountain air....

Mussolini and Hitler
The dictator who smelt it, dealt it.