Section Nine: Economic Policy

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  • Created by: naomi
  • Created on: 25-04-13 18:08

Boosted foreign prestige

  • one aim was boosted foreign prestige and this was brought about with Battle for the Lire in 1927 where the value of the Lire was officially fixed at 90lire to the pound.
  • this raised prestige at home and with foreign banks, fulfilling this aim
  • however there were negative side effects like lower exports causing a depression in industry like textiles and a sharp rise in unemployment
  • even Fiat sold fewer cars than the decade before
  • here, the consequences overshadowed the achievement of the aim
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Transform the Economy

  • Mussolini wanted to transform the economy with the corporate state
  • the idea was that each industry would provide representation for workers and employers so disputes could be settled amicably
  • this was merely a facade as workers were given fascist representatives and so had no power
  • the employers gained more influence through confindustria and Mussolini was reluctant to prevent the monopolies like Fiat that had resulted from this as it increased industrialist support
  • if the aim had been to do this he would have succeeded but it was probably to transform the economy and this did not happen
  • worker abuse remained the same, this time behind closed doors and the only changes achieved were small things e.g. sick and holiday pay which hardly constitute a transformation
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  • Autarky was another aim as war was thought to be inevitable
  • Italy needed to be prepared especially afger the League of Nations sanctions over Ethiopia
  • large government contracts were out into heavy industry like chemicals and steel in order to reduce reliance on imports
  • 50% of steel became government directed and more monopolies like Montecatini chemicals developed, keeping businesses on side
  • Autarky initiated the Battle for Grain to try make Italy self sufficient in this area
  • the only success of autarky was self-sufficiency in cereal by 1925 but otherwise key materials like coal, oil and iron ore were mainly imported
  • Italy could not match production levels of other European countries so was unprepared for WW"
  • Mussolini tried to remedy this with increased military spending but this led to a severe drop in living standards
  • thus economic policy failed here if it brought no benefits
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Strengthen Rural Life

  • Mussolini wished to strengthen rural life
  • Battle of Grain helped this too with government grants and advice given to farmers to try and modernise agriculture
  • this battle was successful as Italy became self-sufficient in this area
  • however, land used for this could have been better utilized for citrus fruits and thus this policy was inefficient as it produced much waste
  • another battle involved in strengthening rural life was battle for marshes to reclaim land
  • it improved public health by reducing malaria and provided popaganda opportunities when Mussolini was able to pose with farmers to show he cared about ordinary people
  • the success of this battle, though, was exaggerated as only small amounts of land were reclaimed
  • living standards in the rural areas were not improved with 0.5% of the southern population owning most of the land
  • moreover, Italy scored 18th in a table displaying calorific intake of people in Europe
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  • transport was successful
  • many motorways were built 
  • railways underwent electrification
  • economy was stimulated
  • new jobs provided
  • infrastructure improved
  • north/south links improved
  • however, more could have been done in this area had Mussolini not focused so heavily on prestige projects
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