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Fascism versus Keynesian Economics comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartFascismKeynesian Economics
Political System One charismatic leader has absolute authority. Often the symbol of the state. Advisers to Government are generally picked by merit rather than election. Cronyism common. Can coexist with a variety of political systems, including dictatorship, oligarchy, republics, and "democratic centralism."
Private Property Nominally permitted. Contingent upon service, obedience, or usefulness to the State. Typically permitted.
Economic System Autarky (national self-sufficiency). Keynesian (mostly). Large public works, deficit spending. Anti-trade union and syndicalism. Strongly against international financial markets and usury. Keynesian.
Philosophy The state must gain glory through constant conquest and war. The past was glorious, and the State can be renewed. The individual has no value outside of his or her role in promoting the glory of the State. Philosophies varied by country. Aggregate demand does not necessarily equal the productive capacity of the economy. Government and central banking can be used to smooth out the business cycle.
Religion Fascism is a civic religion: citizens worship the state through nationalism. The state only supports religious organizations that are nationally/historically tied to that state; e.g., the Iron Guard in Romania supported the Romanian Orthodox church. Freedom of religion.
Ideas The union between businesses and the State, with the state telling the business what to do, with nominally private ownership. Corporatism in Italy, National Socialism in Germany. Central planning of National economy. Redistribution of wealth (Nazi). Free markets sometimes lead to inefficient macroeconomic outcomes. The public sector and its central bank can be used to stabilize output over the business cycle.
Free Choice The individual is considered meaningless; they must submit to the decisions of the leadership. Traditional gender roles are upheld and/or exaggerated. Production decisions are driven by a mixture of State decision and consumer demand. Taxpayers are forced to fund projects aimed at spurring production. Some socialized endeavors may exist. Other choices are generally left to the individual.
Definition An extremely nationalistic, authoritarian state is usually led by one person at the head of one party. No democratic election of representatives. No free market. No individualism or individual glory. The State controls the press and all other media. The view that, in the short run (and especially during recessions), economic output is strongly influenced by aggregate demand (total spending in the economy).
Key Elements Actual idealism, centralized government, social Darwinism, planned economy, anti-democratic, meritocratic, extreme nationalism, militarism, racism (Nazism). Traditional and/or exaggerated gender roles. One-party system. Centralized banking, government investment in infrastructure, centralized government actively setting monetary and fiscal policy.
Way of Change The government in a fascist state is the agent of change rather than any market or desire on the part of consumers. Change by the government can be swift or slow, depending on a change in labor output or even at the whim of the dictator. Change results from a mixture of market incentives & government controls. Change can be swift or slow depending on change in policy, perceived degree of crisis, or even whim.
Means of control Fascism employs direct force (secret police, government intimidation, concentration camps, and murder), propaganda (enabled by State-directed, heavily-censored media), rallies, etc. Interest rates and monetary policy in general is controlled through discretionary centralized banking. Federal government stimulates production through taxation, deficit spending, and public works projects.
Examples Fascist governments are generally headed by one person: a dictator. This is not an aberration of doctrine, in fact it is an important component of it. While politicians the world over often use Keynesian arguments to defend their desire to tax and to spend, few actually advocate cutting government spending during the boom or cutting taxes during the bust.
Economic Coordination Businesses are nominally privately owned; the State dictates outputs and investments. Planning is based on projected labor output rather than money. Believes the State can spur production and bring about full employment by taxing people in order to invest in infrastructure and by setting or influencing interest rates.
Political Movements National Socialism, Falangism, Nazism, Strasserism, neo-Nazism, neo-Fascism, National-Bolshevism. Neo-liberalism, democratic socialism, social democracy, national socialism, fascism.
Ownership Structure The means of production are nominally privately owned but directed by the State. Private ownership of the business is contingent upon the submission to the direction and interests of the State. The means of production are generally privately owned, but production may be directed by the State in times of crisis. The State owns some institutions (e.g., a central bank).
View of war War is good for the morale of the nation and therefore good for the State. Through the conquest of war, the State can attain glory. The Nation State is bolstered through the use of subjugation of inferior nations. War is good for the economy because military spending creates jobs when the economy is depressed and spurs production both directly and via the “multiplier effect.” Rebuilding destroyed infrastructure further stimulates the economy.
Social Structure A strict class structure was believed necessary to prevent chaos (Italian Fascist). All class distinctions are eliminated (German Nazi). Nazism believes in a “superior” race. Italian Fascism was not racist in doctrine originally. Classes exist based on their relationship to capital. Varying amounts of class mobility.
History Term coined by Mussolini in the 1920s when he gained control of Italy. Other major fascist regimes include the NSDAP in Germany (1933-45), the National Union in Portugal (1934-68), and Francoist Spain (1936-1975). Keynes published his "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money" in 1936.
Variations Nazism, Austrofascism, British Fascism, Christofascism, Clerical Fascism, Falangism, Francoism, Italian Fascism, National Socialism, Neo-fascism, Proto-fascism, Tropical fascism. Neo-Keynesian economics, post-Keynesian economics, new Keynesian economics.
Modern Examples Recent far-right dictatorships include the Republic of Chile under Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and the Republic of Argentina under Juan Perón (1946-1955) / (1973-1974). There are presently no openly fascist governments in existence. While politicians the world over often use Keynesian arguments to defend their desire to tax and to spend, few actually advocate cutting government spending during the boom or cutting taxes during the bust.

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