A cursory study of history tells us that in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, corporations were given favored status with the governments, but for regular people not so much. As noted in Wikipedia,
Like many other Western nations, Germany suffered the economic effects of the Great Depression with unemployment soaring around the Wall Street Crash of 1929. When Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, he introduced policies aimed at improving the economy. The changes included privatization of state industries, autarky (national economic self-sufficiency) and tariffs on imports. Weekly earnings increased by 19% in real terms from 1933 to 1939, but this was largely due to employees working longer hours, while the hourly wage rates remained close to the lowest levels reached during the Great Depression. In addition, reduced foreign trade meant rationing in consumer goods like poultry, fruit, clothing, and consumer goods for many Germans.
There was another economic factor in Germany that corporations used to increase their profits as well: slave labor. Jews and other ethnic groups stripped of their businesses and property and then shipped off to camps were used as slave labor by a variety of private businesses.
So in essence, what appeared to be a booming economy in Hitler’s rule of Germany was actually a false front brought about by low wages and slave labor. But what about the apparent demand that was driving that economy? Again from Wikipedia,
The Nazis believed in war as the primary engine of human progress, and argued that the purpose of a country’s economy should be to enable that country to fight and win wars of expansion. As such, almost immediately after coming to power, they embarked on a vast program of military rearmament, which quickly dwarfed civilian investment. During the 1930s, Nazi Germany increased its military spending faster than any other state in peacetime, and the military eventually came to represent the majority of the German economy in the 1940s. This was funded mainly through deficit financing before the war, and the Nazis expected to cover their debt by plundering the wealth of conquered nations during and after the war. Such plunder did occur, but its results fell far short of Nazi expectations.
The Nazi government developed a partnership with leading German business interests, who supported the goals of the regime and its war effort in exchange for advantageous contracts, subsidies, and the suppression of the trade union movement. Cartels and monopolies were encouraged at the expense of small businesses, even though the Nazis had received considerable electoral support from small business owners.
Sound familiar? Today’s Republican Party policies support these agenda points
- Support of large corporate interests over those of small businesses and individuals.
- Complete blockage of any attempts to raise minimum wage requirements and total antagonism to trade unions.
- Support of war-related interest over domestic investment.
- Overt and covert attempts to privatize government services, to whit, the United States Postal Service.
- The overt support of white supremacist rhetoric and actions on the part of past and present office holders.
- Support for private prisons and the use of inmate labor at near slave wages.
In case anyone didn’t notice, this country already spends nearly three times the next highest country in terms of military spending. And while deficit increase arguments are always raised by Republicans over any domestic investment, there is no mention of this obvious factor when it comes to approving money for weapons.
The Importance of History
When one examines the past for aspects that are important NOT to repeat, the information is rich and offers numerous important lessons for humanity.
And now we connect to the Republican penchant for opposing history lessons under the false idea that studying the racist history of the United States and the country’s own penchant for genocide is somehow damaging. The fact is that our history is linked to Germany’s own crimes against humanity and those of South Africa and other efforts to overtly or covertly enslave people.
The real deal is that the study of Fascist Economic History will alert people to the path the current decrepit, corrupt and degraded Republican Party has chosen. These people somehow view history as a how-to manual for their own rise to dictatorship control of the United States with a depraved pseudo leader at the head of the table.