How Successful Mussolini's Economic Policy?

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To begin with, Mussolini was no economist and he knew little of the workings of the economy. To see whether his economic policy was successful we must first look at his aims. Mussolini's main objective was to build Italy's economy to a level where it could rival the great industrial powers of the post-war period, namely Britain, France and, to a lesser extent, Germany in Europe. To do so, he aims to achieve autarky; to have a self-sufficient Italy that he believed was vital to national security. In result, would make Italy have the ability to fight the major power. The question is, was his economic policy successful? In the early 1930's Italy's economy was backward and agricultural, especially in the economically destitute South. A massive program of industrialisation would need to be carried out in order to bring the economy up to the standards of Northwest Europe. Mussolini also needed economic success to keep public opinion on his side. In this respect he was lucky to have been able to ride the European-wide boom of the 1920's whilst allowing his finance minister, De Stefani, to follow orthodox economic policies. However, simply being carried along on a wave of economic success would not make Italy an important industrial power. In one of his most successful economic policies, Mussolini created IRI which allowed him to take control of many key industries as it provided finance for firms producing goods such as steel, electricity and machine-tools. However, as a domestic policy the success of such a scheme must be judged to have been flawed, as it made no impact on the north-south divide as new developments were by and large centred on the North. In addition corruption, which so regularly leaked into Italian politics, diminished the effectiveness of the IRI.With industry on a long leash and the South still in a medieval economic state Mussolini's apparent success in industrialising Italy with a national purpose was always mostly rhetoric flattered by outside...
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