Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Corporatism and planning in Monnet's idea of Europe

caldari katia, University of Padova

During the 30s in France, far more than in other countries, the debate about the third way was particularly intense, particularly from 1932 when in the country the effects of the economic crisis started to be felt. The efforts to practically develop an alternative to liberal capitalism and socialism involved two main different solutions: planning and corporatism. Some form of planning was especially suggested by neo-liberals and socialist unionists; whereas corporatism was supported by catholic conservatives, anti-communist unionists, academics, royalists and employers. Although corporatism had much less influence and support than planning in the interwar period, it became one of the pillars of the Vichy regime during the war. Corporatism and planning perspectives often overlapped and since the beginning both of them were imbued with some elements of neo-liberalism: such a combination of corporatism-planning-neoliberalism characterized France reconstruction after WWII, but it was also is the backbone of the French design developed for the European construction soon after WWII. Such a design as originally conceived by Jean Monnet never succeeded and it was instead replaced by a deeply different architecture. This paper focuses on the European project that was proposed by Jean Monnet soon after the war and aims to underline the strict connection of this idea of Europe with the legacy of both the debates developed in the interwar period on the role of the state and the workable version of capitalism and of the experiences occurred during the war period. This paper is part of the session titled "Political Economy and International Order in Interwar Europe”).


Keywords: planning; corporatism; functionalism; European integration