Organizing State Intervention in an Authoritarian State: From Fascist Import Substitution to French Developmentalism in Postwar Spain

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The economics of the authoritarian regime of Francisco Franco in Spain are often narrowed to a bespoke form of fascism. This paper suggests that this regime’s rather inchoate economic regimes were in fact a series of experiments that blended varieties of statism and liberalism. Thus, a form of import-substitution industrialization colored by Italian fascist features (1939-1959) lasted fifteen years longer in Spain than in the country of importation. In contrast, a local version of French developmentalism (1964-1975) was largely in sync with what was being tried in France at the time. However, this French developmentalist template imbued with fiscal Keynesianism was layered with liberal economic projects, particularly in the monetary policy arena. But while fascist import substitution (the so called “autarky”) collapsed mostly due to its internal problems, Spain’s translation of French developmentalism was associated with economic growth and was only extensively damaged by the crisis of the global capitalist core ushered by the 1973 oil shock. Critically, while in the symbolic terrain of Spanish politics the liberal economic projects that accompanied the local translation of French developmentalism were always associated with reformist and even “dissident” elite circles, the stigma of developmentalism’ association with the core elites of authoritarianism removed developmentalism as a source of alternatives to the liberal economic reforms ushered by Spain’s transition to liberal democracy in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
TidsskriftStudia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Sociologia
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)5-28
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2021


  • Keynesianism
  • Developmentalism
  • Fascism
  • Spain
  • Indicative planning