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Mussolini was famous for his claims of a planned economy, and social harmony in Italy.

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Introduction

Mussolini was famous for his claims of a planned economy, and social harmony in Italy. Fascism was also claimed to be an ideology of change, and dynamism. However Mussolini's Italy had few economic successes between 1924 - 1936, and it remained without a developed industrial base, an issue fundamentally ignored by Mussolini. Mussolini did not actually aim for development, and economic growth, rather an economy which would increase his personal power and help maintain it. Essential to this therefore was for Mussolini to seek economic stability to ensure political stability. This aim perhaps suggests the necessity for prosperity, however like so many of Mussolini's policies propaganda would be as good a substitute as any. In order to not only increase power, and support, it was necessary for Mussolini to establish clear support for economic elites of both the industrialists and landowners. In other words policies which were pro-private property, pro-private profit, against market regulation, and policies which controlled workers and unions. These policies which protected the interests of the bourgeoisie were undoubtfully popular with other elites including the church, army and monarchy. The fascist state was to be a military one, and a clear goal of the fascist state was not only an empire, but war. War was seen as something inherently good that would create a strong Italian people. ...read more.

Middle

However it was a failure, from the 1920's to 1936 the birth rate actually declined! Also policies which prohibited abortion, contraceptives, and discrimination towards women can hardly be suggested as progression. At first the workers benefited from the economic revival of the 1920's. However their rights were quickly reduced, and at the Vidoni Pact in 1925 trade unions were essentially outlawed. The banning of trade unions radically reduced industrial disputes, and could be argued that it therefore made production more efficient, and prevented inflation, thus helping economic growth at the expense of liberty. Mussolini's replacement to trade unions, and to fulfil the fascist aim of social harmony, was the creation of the 'coporative system'. This established trade unions called corporations made up of both employees and employers in each industry. By 1929 it was claimed that this system had removed class conflict, however the reality was that industrialist controlled corporations controlled workers rather than making up for their loss of rights. The 'corporative system' did not materialise, and class conflict did remain. All the 'corporative system' did do was to institute a large bureaucracy which aided economic inefficiency, and the failure of many policies to be implemented. As a result by the late 1920s workers wages fell. ...read more.

Conclusion

This meant the industrial base remained inadequate for autarky and war, nevermind economic growth. The reality of Mussolini's economic policies was that they did not aim to directly fuel development and economic growth, rather they persued a policies to increase Mussolini's personal power, and create a war-machine. However even here they failed to 'produce the goods'. Mussolini did have some achievements which did indeed help development of Italy. These included the early 1920's under the liberal economist de Stefani Iin which taly experienced a period of some affluence; fiscal policy during the depression fiscal policy which led to rge development of infrastructure such as railways, roads, and schools; and even investment in heavy industry helped it not only advance technologically, but overtake agriculture in share of production. Agriculture also benefited from mechanisation, if not much else. However it is my opinion that Mussolini's failure to tackle the key issues of poverty, inequality, and industrailisation both prevented him attaining his own goals, but also prevented real economic development occuring in Italy. Mussolini also failed in increasing the welafre The result was an economy unfit for World War II, or even the Italian people, and was naturally a major player in the regime's eventual collapse. "Italy remained poor and backward despite all Mussolini's attempts to promote economic growth." Consider the validity of this judgement on the Italian Economy in years 1924 - 36. ...read more.

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