In 1960s Spain under General Francisco Franco and in 1970s Chile under General Augusto Pinochet, exponential economic growth occurred. What is interesting to note, is that both these countries experienced economic glory under autocratic, totalitarian military regimes. This essay will discuss the role that Iberian Fascism had on the issue of the Economy in both Spain and Chile. This will be examined in three parts. Firstly, the problems the Dictator himself inherited. Secondly, the steps they took to solve the problem. Finally this essay will give a critical analysis of the consequences of their reforms.
In order to discuss this question, it must first be outlined what the Iberian form of Fascism is. It is one of conservatism, strong nationalism and strong social values that were derived from the Catholic Church. As Carr describes it, it was one of conservative and autocratic rule (265).
Both Franco and Pinochet came to power in Coup d’états, Franco however ended up having to fight a civil war from 1936-39 (of which he won). However, both had major issues to solve with the Economy – one inherited (Pinochet) and the other self-inflicted (Franco). Franco’s issue was with his original belief of autarky (a state or society that is economically independent). He wanted to rid Spain of the systems and ideologies that had ‘corrupted her true identity’, among these, at least in the early days of his rule, capitalism as a liberal market system (Carr 265). His original solution was to withdraw from the world market and have state intervention (266). Pinochet in contrast, inherited his major issues from the socialist government he had overthrown. The government of Salvador Allende implemented his Marxist reforms by socialising national resources. This therefore resulted in foreign investment not wishing to invest due to too much government control (Keen & Haynes 354). This along with expropriation of small and medium businesses (a government policy), rising inflation and government ineffectiveness to run business led to a massive economic downturn (355-56).
Their issues resulted in a need for internal change, but outside influences had their effects on both dictators. Firstly, Franco needed to accept that his ‘experimentation’ with autarky had failed. Carr explains it as that ‘its self imposed economic isolation ended in the 1940s after it was known it was failing” (268). Ellwood agrees with this statement suggesting that “Franco’s refusal to recognise that autarky was economically and politically untenable was due partly to his belief that liberal democracy could not bring economic well-being, and partly due to his lack of understanding of the complexities of economic policy-formulation” (156). Therefore he needed an outside influence to help him ‘modernise’ Spain and bring it into the 20th Century. This came through the help of the United States and Spain’s strategic importance in the fight against communism. Franco therefore could dictate...