Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Peregrinations of a Corporatist Economist: François Perroux’s Travels in Fascist Europe

Brisset Nicolas, Université Côte d’Azur
Fèvre Raphaël, Université de Lausanne

This article examines Perroux’s corporatist thought from the interwar period to the Vichy period, in the light of his travels in Italy, Germany, Austria and Portugal from 1934 to 1935. We will show that Perroux’s critical analysis of what he called “fascist”—politically authoritarian and economically corporatist—regimes is central to grasp his intellectual and institutional trajectory. To do so, we reconstruct Perroux’s original diagnostic regarding these regimes, stressing the way he distinguished the totalitarian mystic of Italy and Germany from the national-catholic model outlined by Austria and Portugal. Then, we show that Perroux’s travels impacted his economic thought, both theoretically and epistemologically. Eventually, the diagnostic he draw from his mid-1930s tour within foreign experiences will also help us shading light on the way he welcomed and tried to guide Vichy France’s socio-economic reforms.

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Keywords: Corporatism, Perroux, Travels, Economic Structures, Vichy France