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To what extent were Mussolini's economic policies successful in the years 1922-40?

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Introduction

´╗┐To what extent were Mussolini's economic policies successful in the years 1922-40? Upon his rise to power Mussolini proclaimed that Italy would finally be made ?great? by the power of fascism, enacting numerous policies such the ?Battle of the Marshes? in an attempt to improve Italy?s industry, agriculture, the economic situation in monetary and employment terms, as well as creating new transport/trade links to bolster Italy?s overall economy. These policies were often minor successes, such as the Battle for Grain which did push Italy towards some self-sufficiency required for the fascist war economy. Realistically however, Italy?s financial and state of resources ensured that Mussolini?s economic policies in these key sectors remained a general failure. One key sector which Mussolini targeted was the Italian industry, one of Mussolini?s biggest successes. Situated mainly in northern Italy, the industry played a large role in bolstering the Italian economy; initially this was presented a success. The Mussolini government took a relatively laissez-faire approach, with limited corporation taxes in order to encourage growth of larger firms. This presented one of Mussolini?s biggest successes; he had taken power as Italy was in the midst of the ?economic miracle?, ...read more.

Middle

The policy of autarky within the agricultural sector seemed to be heading towards a success, with Italy becoming almost entirely self-sufficient in cereal stocks by 1940; wheat imports fell by 75% in the years 1925-35, and to encourage consumption of Italian produce tariffs were levied on imported grain from 1926 onwards. Further economic policies included the Battle of the Marshes, which aimed to drain marsh land in order to be made suitable for farming. Another positive side effect this had was on public health, as draining the marshes helped curb the spread of diseases such as malaria, commonplace in southern Italy as well as in an attempt to revive the agricultural sector in the south. However, these initial successes were quickly shadowed by the economic depression, with yields in the south remaining extremely low, and a 20% fall in livestock farming. This failure were further aggravated as southerners left the crumbling south in an attempt to seek work in the north; 1.5 million people moved to the north as southern wages were cut by up to 40%. ...read more.

Conclusion

Under Mussolini?s economic management, Italy?s economic status was effectively left to crumble as Mussolini continued his assertive foreign policy which simply could not be supported by the industrial or agriculture of Italy ? the country had not succeeded in achieving autarky which was essential for Mussolini?s plans for war. Mussolini?s policy was relatively straightforward at first: oversee the growth of the industrial and agricultural sectors, as well as the eventual target for autarky in preparation for WWII. Initially this was a minor success, with industries benefiting from the laissez-faire approach and limited taxation, as well as the ?Battle of the Marshes? which saw agricultural production increase somewhat. However, all these improvements were eventually overshadowed by the fact that Mussolini had failed to deal effectively with the growing problem of inflation and stagnation in growth caused by the Depression, while still attempting to pursue a war economy similar to Germany?s. In comparison to other European countries, Germany especially, Italy made little progress overall in terms of economic stability, with the North-South divide still a prominent issue. Mussolini had, in effect, failed to achieve his own initial targets and his policies were therefore mostly unsuccessful, especially when taking into account comparisons to other European countries. ...read more.

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