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  Corporatism is the name given to the theory of the ‘corporate state’ which was first extensively articulated in Catholic social thought, and in fascist Italy. It supposed that the political community is composed of diverse functional and economic corporate bodies, and argued that representation of interests should take place on the bases of such autonomously organized corporations (or syndicates), rather than on individualist or territorial principles of representation. In fact, corporatist bodies in Italy were controlled by the state so the expression ‘authoritarian corporatism’ is often used to describe fascist practices.

In many of the postwar liberal democracies policy formulation and implementation became highly dependent upon organized business and trade unionized labour, and governments tacitly recognized that these corporate bodies had effective representational monopolies. These practices are variously described by political scientists and economists as liberal corporatism, neo-corporatism or corporate pluralism. Extensive debate exists over whether such liberal corporatist practices are a transitory or permanent feature of modern democracies. BO\'L

See also Catholic political thought.Further reading A, Cawson (ed.), Organised Interests and the State; , P. Williamson, Corporatism in Perspective.



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