Economic Policy Making and the Structures of Corporatism in Latin America

  • William Glade


Quite unmistakably, we have in recent times been witnessing an intellectual Parousia of corporatism, corresponding apparently to the renewed flourishing in objective reality of this system of economic organization. In its earlier incarnation, the distinguishing attributes of the phenomenon were widely discussed and debated, most often under the rubric of fascism. Even then, many observed, as did von Beckerath in the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, that “it is difficult to isolate by abstract analysis the distinctive feature of fascism. Viewed either negatively or positively, it has elements in common with other systems of national organization.”1 There were, for instance, clear corporatist traits in the structural configuration that Keynes felt, in the mid-twenties, would eventually come to characterize advanced western capitalism, even in the liberal democracies.2


Public Sector Functional Equivalency Corporatist System Economic Policy Make Modern Economic Growth 
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  1. 1.
    Erwin von Beckerath, “Fascism,” Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. 5 ( New York: Macmillan, 1948 ), pp. 133–139.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    John Maynard Keynes, Essays in Persuasion (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1952). See the two essays titled “The End of Laissez-Faire” and “Am I a Liberal?” For corporatism in the United States, see John A. Garraty, “The New Deal, National Socialism, and the Great Depression,” American Historical Review 78 (1973): 914–15.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    von Beckerath, “Fascism,” p. 134.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The synthesis that follows is derived from George Lowell Field, The Syndical and Corporative Institutions of Italian Fascism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1938); Roland Sarti, Fascism and Industrial Leadership in Italy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971); and Renzo de Felice, Fascism: An Informal Introduction to its Theory and Practice (New Brunswick, N. J.: Transaction Books, 1976 ). These works indicate plainly that macroeconomic management and industrial policy did not always operate in practice as the theory of corporatism envisaged.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The contradictions between the doctrine and practice of corporatism, as well as its ideological untidiness, are illustrated particularly well in Diamanté study of the Austrian case. There, varied professional interests and rural and urban lower middle classes were manipulated by the higher bourgeoisie with which, in principle, they were in opposition. Alfred Diamant, Austrian Catholics and the First Republic ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1960 ).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    von Beckerath, “Fascism,” p. 137.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Diamant, Austrian Catholics and the First Republic, pp. 66–69, 283–85, also calls attention to the strong statist tradition in Austrian corporatism, which conferred on the state an omnicompetence that was decidedly at variance with other doctrinal elements of corporatism.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Curiously, the pre-World War II Japanese version of authoritarian capitalism was widely neglected by comparative systems scholars, although not by the handful of area specialists (mostly economic historians) who wrote on the economy of Japan.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mihail Manoilesco, Le Siècle de Corporatisme ( Paris: F. Alcan, 1934 ).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    For useful descriptions of the German case, see Robert A. Brady, The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism (New York: Viking Press, 1937); Claude W. Guillebaud, The Economic Recovery of Germany (London: Macmillan, 1939); and Arthur Schweitzer, Big Business in the Third Reich (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1964 ). Brady’s book points out similarities in economic and political behavior between Germany and other capitalist economies and shows how limited, in Germany, was the actual application of pure or formal corporatist principles.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    William N. Loucks and J. Weldon Hout, Comparative Economic Systems, 3rd ed. (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1948), for example, devoted the four separate chapters of Part VII to a discussion of ‘The Doctrines of Fascism/’ “Fascist Italy,” “National Socialist Germany,” and “Evaluating the Fascist System.” A few years later, the fifth edition of the same book—William N. Loucks, Comparative Economic Systems (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1957) still carried a separate section on fascism, but three of the chapters of the third edition had by then been collapsed into one. George P. Adams, Jr., Competitive Economic Systems (New York: Thomas Y. Cowell Company, 1955) had, meanwhile, also allotted four chapters to fascism. The treatment in these popular textbooks was typical of the day.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    The situational-structural basis of Austrian corporatism is made plain in the ponderously partisan work of Charles Gulick, Austria from Habsburg to Hitler, vol. 2 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1948), see esp. pp. 1143–48, 1423–56.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Loucks and Hout, Comparative Economic Systems, viewed with evident alarm the “transplantation of fascist ideas and personnel from Germany, Spain, and Italy to Argentina” (p. 627), referring explicitly to the Peron government, but was altogether silent on the Brazilian (or any other Latin American) case. In Loucks, Comparative Economic Systems, the mention of the Argentine, while still in the same vein, was brief. In Adams, Competitive Economic Systems, the reference to Latin America was even more marginal and confined to a single question: “Should Peron’s Argentina or Salazar’s Portugal properly be called fascist?”Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    William N. Loucks and William G. Whitney, Comparative Economic Systems, 8th ed. ( New York: Harper & Row, 1969 ).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    In Allan G. Gruchy, Comparative Economic Systems (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966) fascism and corporatism rated only parts of two pages (pp. 881–82) as a type of capitalism found in Spain and Portugal although Gruchy called attention to the fact that elements of the fascist type of system are found in a number of developing nations.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    An extensive bibliography may be gleaned from Frederick B. Pike and Thomas Stritch, eds., The New Corporatism, Social-Political Structures in the Iberian World (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1974). See also the useful collection of essays in James Malloy, ed., Authoritarianism and Corporatism in Latin America ( Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, 1977 ).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    See, for example, Charles W. Anderson, The Political Economy of Modern Spain: Policy-Making in an Authoritarian System ( Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Robert A. Brady, Business as a System of Power ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1943 ), pp. 5–6.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    John K. Galbraith, The New Industrial State (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967); Andrew Shonfield, Modern Capitalism: The Changing Balance of Public and Private Power (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965), esp. pp. 230–33.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Murray Weidenbaum, The Modern Public Sector ( New York: Basic Books, 1969 ).Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Daniel R. Fusfeld, “The Rise of the Corporate State in America,” Journal of Economic Issues 6 (March 1972). Note also the interpretation of Andreas G. Papandreou, Paternalistic Capitalism ( Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1972 ).Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    On the Christian Democratic version of corporatist ideology see Francisco Jose Moreno, “The Breakdown of Chilean Democracy,” World Affairs (Summer 1975): 15–25.Google Scholar
  23. 25.
    Philippe C. Schmitter, “Still the Century of Corporatism?” Review of Politics (January 1974): 86.Google Scholar
  24. 26.
    Louis J. Mark, “The Favored Status of the State Entrepreneur in Economic Development Programs,” Economic Development and Cultural Change 1 (July 1959): 422–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 27.
    See William Glade, The Latin American Economies (New York: American Book Company, 1969) for a fuller account of this development style.Google Scholar
  26. 29.
    Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System (New York: Academic Press, 1974), ch. 3.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishing 1980

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  • William Glade

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