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corporative state,economic system inaugurated by the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini in Italy. It was adapted in modified form under other European dictatorships, among them Adolf Hitler's National Socialist regime in Germany and the Spanish regime of Francisco Franco. Although the Italian system was based upon unlimited government control of economic life, it still preserved the framework of capitalism. Legislation of 1926 and later years set up 22 guilds, or associations, of employees and employers to administer various sectors of the national economy. These were represented in the national council of corporations. The corporations were generally weighted by the state in favor of the wealthy classes, and they served to combat socialism and syndicalism by absorbing the trade union movement. The Italian corporative state aimed in general at reduced consumption in the interest of militarization. See fascismfascism
, totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life. The name was first used by the party started by Benito Mussolini, who ruled Italy from 1922 until the Italian defeat in World
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See R. Sarti, Fascism and the Industrial Leadership in Italy, 1919–1940 (1971).
a term used to designate one of the state forms of an authoritarian regime, as in fascist states. The idea of the corporative state represented a development of L. Duguit’s theory of solidarism, according to which the state is a “working corporation,” the sum of public services supplying an entire society, a whole nation. Duguit asserted that the corporative state would replace the state as a public authority insofar as its creation was intended to overcome class antagonisms and to abolish classes in capitalist society. In place of classes, the advocates of the theory introduced the idea of “corporations,” through which collaboration between labor and capital is supposedly achieved. Each corporation fulfills its social function, and an entrepreneur in a corporation is not an exploiter but rather a “leader of industry.”
The idea of corporatism was most fully realized in states with fascist regimes, which considered it the most convenient form for establishing the dictatorship of the forces of reaction. In fascist Italy, where the Labor Charter of 1927 proclaimed the main tenet of the fascist corporative state to be the unity of the nation, “voluntary” corporations in various branches of the economy, headed by a national council of corporations (chairman, B. Mussolini), were established beginning in 1934. In 1939 the Italian parliament was replaced by the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations composed of members of the National Council of Corporations, the leaders of the Fascist Party, and the ministers. Certain elements of the corporative state were found in fascist Germany, where the Labor Front, cultural chambers, and other organizations supposedly encompassing all those employed in a particular sphere of the economy were formed.
Representation based on the principle of the corporative state has been introduced in present-day Spain, where government-controlled trade unions, chambers of commerce, and the National Economic Council, composed of entrepreneurs, are represented in the Cortes.