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How Successful Was Mussolini In Solving The Social And Economic Problems He Inherited?

1360 words - 5 pages

Mussolini's social and economic policiesWhen Mussolini seized power in1922, Italians had high expectations of him in solving the numerous social and economic problems Italy had. As the new dynamic leader, Mussolini wanted to solve these problems because the success of his policies would lead to his increase of popularity as the Duce and contribute to his consolidation of power. Although his policies brought changes to Italy, they were also one of the causes of the downfall of fascist Italy. Hence, it is difficult to assess Mussolini's domestic policies in terms of the benefit it created to society as a whole.One of the key aims in Mussolini's economic policies was to build Italy's economy to a level where it could rival the great industrial powers of the world like Britain, France and Germany. At that time, Italy's economy was backward and relied heavily on the inconsistent agriculture industry. Mussolini wanted to maintain capitalism while still enforcing state intervention to secure his power. He knew that a massive program of industrialization would be needed in order to bring the economy up to the standards of neighboring countries.In order to secure public support, Mussolini first appointed the economics professor Alberto de Stefani as Treasury Minister. He was very popular amongst the industrialists because he reduced government spending and privatized numerous big industries in order to stimulate the economy. Mussolini's choice of de Stefani was very successful as it secured his popularity as the Duce and really led the Italian economy into a period of boom with record export numbers especially in the cars and textile industry. However, after 1925, Mussolini gradually steered the economy towards his fascist ideals. With the dismissal of de Stefani and the launch of the Battle for Lira, the boom was slowly coming to an end. Mussolini believed that the lira "is a symbol of our nation…a vibrant country should have a strong, vibrant currency." (Robson 83).He restored the value of the Lira to a new exchange rate of 90 lira to the Sterling instead of 150. This battle only had temporary success. Although foreign bankers and the Italian public were pleased with the change, this policy destroyed Italy's export in the long run, as the price of exported goods nearly doubled. Major export industries went into recession and unemployment trebled in 1926. The only winners of this policy were the war- and heavy industries who made huge profits from the protected domestic market.In the late1920s, Mussolini created the corporate state, a revolutionary method of running the economy. Corporations will be set up for each sector of industry and fascist representatives will control both the employers and the workers. According to him, this system will make the production more efficient and will get rid of all the strikes and class disputes. At first it appeared to be very effective, with 22 corporations covering nearly every job in Italy. But soon this...

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