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Austerity and Repressive Politics: Italian Economists in the Early Years of the Fascist Government

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  • Clara Elisabetta Mattei

Abstract

The historical forerunners of contemporary austerity are still largely unexplored. This essay considers the "liberal phase" of Fascist Italy (1922-1925) as a case study to explain austerity as a full-blown rationality, that is intrinsically, and simultaneously, theory and practice, encompassing the moral, the economic and the political. My explanation moves beyond the interpretation of austerity as the post-1980, neoliberal recipe of price deflation and budget cuts. The Italian case draws attention to a neglected connection: that between austerity and repression. Austerity was the guiding principle of the Fascist economic agenda during the 1920s. It served to extinguish the effects of the democratization process of the post-WWI years. The paper examines the work of four distinguished economists, Maffeo Pantaleoni, Luigi Einaudi, Alberto De Stefani and Umberto Ricci, who -in different roles as professors, journalists, advisors, and policy-makers- can be considered the source, the guardians and the enforcers of Fascist austerity.

Suggested Citation

  • Clara Elisabetta Mattei, 2015. "Austerity and Repressive Politics: Italian Economists in the Early Years of the Fascist Government," LEM Papers Series 2015/17, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2015/17
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Germà Bel, 2011. "The first privatisation: selling SOEs and privatising public monopolies in Fascist Italy (1922--1925)," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(5), pages 937-956.
    2. Blyth, Mark, 2013. "Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199828302.
    3. Piero Bini, 2013. "Captains of Industry and Masters of Thought. The Entrepreneur and the Tradition of Italian Liberal Economists from Francesco Ferrara to Sergio Ricossa," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 87-130.
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    Keywords

    Austerity; Repressive Politics; Economists as Consultants; Fascism;

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