Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Third Way Perspectives and Ideas on International Order in Interwar France

Cunha Alexandre, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

The communitarian dimension of the personalist debates of the 1930s in France would end up providing important elements of the third way discourse that would influence (even if with new colors) the European integration process years later, including Jean Monnet’s actions and the Schuman Plan. The third way discourse in interwar France, proposing perspectives between capitalism and planned socialism, is nevertheless complex and polysemic and includes not only the personalist sources of the non-conformist movements, but also groups such the neo-socialists, the former revolutionary syndicalists, and the (neo)corporatism, among others. This paper seeks to articulate the main dimensions of these third way views, with emphasis on the non-conformism, with a view to guiding an entry in this complex map of perspectives, focusing on topics such as internationalism and the critique of international order, as a way to perceive the visions about the future of Europe that were being discussed in these debates. In this sense, a set of key perspectives for the effective integration process from the immediate post-war period, which would include, for example, connections between planning, (neo)corporatism and communitarian personalism, as well as specific ideas on the place of colonialism in the future of Europe, can be traced at that time with important future repercussions. One of the privileged focuses of the analysis is the contributions of different non-conformist authors that appear in journals such as the Ordre Nouveau or Esprit in the 1930s, as well as, in a more vertical analysis, the example of how several of these elements would find a particular combination in the perspectives developed by François Perroux on European integration. This paper is proposed as part of the session “Political Economy and International Order in Interwar Europe.”


Keywords: third-way, interwar, François Perroux, personalism, corporatism

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