Developments in Major Fields of Economics
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 7: Corporatism
Corporatism is probably the most common system of economic organisation in both the Eastern and Western worlds. As in the case of, for example, mercantilism, we should not look for the foundations of corporatism in the writings of eminent thinkers. There are certainly some remarkable theories that offer a theoretical basis, but in reality corporatism is indubitably based for the most part on historical facts. It has a history of more than 2000 years and this thus prevents us from defining it simply as being somewhere in between capitalism and socialism or as the economic doctrine of some authoritarian regimes. If we consider how corporatism has taken shape over the years, historical experience is more relevant than any theoretical foundations. During the course of its history, scholars of economics have spoken of several instances of corporatism, largely different and often labelled with different names. Nevertheless, these come from the same origin and must all be considered as true corporatism. Just as we accept that there are several varieties of capitalism, we must also acknowledge that corporatism is a multi-faceted phenomenon comprising many features. Also we must realise that it is necessary to connect all the different aspects and characteristics that have shaped the historical process behind corporatism in order to understand its theoretical structure.
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