What is Fascism?
Fascism is a governmental system based on authoritarian nationalism. Although there is no specific definition of fascism, its practice typically shares the same principle beliefs of anti-communism, anti-liberalism, and anti-conservatism. Its politics are often able to gain widespread support by proposing the idea of national rebirth. This idea suggests that the current society has reached moral decay and must be cleansed. Supporters of fascism believe that the government should function under a single party in order to become more efficient and effective in order to respond quickly to military threats or economic problems. The leader under fascism is often a dictator and public officials are often of military background. This type of government first became popular in Europe during the early 1900’s.
What is a Fascist Economy?
In addition to the previously mentioned basics of fascism, the ideology also carries a unique economic structure. Although not all fascist governments practice the exact same type of economy, some general characteristics do apply. In a fascist economy, the role of the government is more than simply regulatory. It has strong influence over controlling investments and industries. Under this type of economy, the government ensures that the most successful entrepreneurs are supported in their business ventures while simultaneously working to dismantle unions. In order to garner government support, however, businesses and their profits must be promised to enhance the interests of the country. The idea behind this was also that any losses or failures would be shared by the public, in other words, the taxpayers. Most fascist leaders oppose free-market economies and socialism, instead believing that social classes and corporate centric policies are healthy for society. Additionally, because fascism is rooted in nationalism, international trade is usually abolished. The argument with this is that the national economy depends on international economies and risks loss if other economies decline. Under fascist rule, military allocations are often increased and privatization is encouraged.
Despite its many criticisms, fascist economies do have some advantages for their countries. This governmental system has been shown to promote economic growth. If that growth is allowed to reach all levels of society, it could benefit the individual as well with increased quality of life. It also leads to improved infrastructure and industrial production which, in turn, helps increase national wealth as well. Proponents of fascist economies suggest that due to the close relationship between government and private corporations, concentrating wealth and power become more efficient.
DisadvantagesThe disadvantages of seen in fascist economy typically outweigh their advantages. Because of its nationalistic attitude, among other reasons, fascist governments are often shunned by the international community. Although economies of fascism do not commonly participate in international trade, their disregard for international rules and regulations makes it impossible to do so. Imports and exports are often critical for improving economic health. Opponents often argue that fascist economies actually disrupt economic growth, citing the case of Fascist-led Spain. In an effort to provide bread to all socioeconomic levels of society, bread prices were set very low. Because of the increased focus on the importance of profit for the sake of the nation, bread as an industry was abandoned for more lucrative practices. This led to a bread shortage. Others suggest that fascist economies result in higher levels of business corruption due to a lack of checks and balances.