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Seminar series

Building Modern European Capitalism

Étienne Hirsch, Piero Malvestiti and the foundations of industrial policy in post-war France and Italy (1945-1958)

Add to calendar 2023-01-12 15:00 2023-01-12 16:00 Europe/Rome Building Modern European Capitalism Sala degli Stemmi Villa Salviati- Castle YYYY-MM-DD


12 January 2023

15:00 - 16:00 CET


Sala degli Stemmi

Villa Salviati- Castle

In this first Alcide de Gasperi Seminar of 2023, Cesare Vagge presents his archival research on the private papers of Étienne Hirsch and Pietro Malvestiti. Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol, recently appointed EUI Professor of History and Co-Director of the Alcide de Gasperi Centre, will act as discussant.

The personal papers of Etienne Hirsch and Pietro Malvestiti constitute an important set of sources for the comprehension of the political and administrative choices that determined the consolidation of two rather different varieties of modern organised capitalism in post-war France and Italy.

The papers hint that, whilst Italy limited planning to the boundaries of the large public sector inherited from the Fascist regime (eventually subjecting its technocrats to the political control of an ad hoc ministry), France consolidated a comprehensive planning apparatus, which transformed both private and public enterprises into instruments of the state's long-term industrial strategy. Hirsch and his fellow planners always maintained the idea that the private sector had to be co-opted into the planning process, whilst Malvestiti and other Christian-Democratic reformers always limited their discussions to the future of public enterprises, especially those under the control of the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI) and the degree of autonomy that its managers would enjoy from political power.

These considerations should help explain why, by the mid 1960s, institutional economists such as Andrew Shonfied considered France the archetype of the planned capitalist economy, but instead regarded Republican Italy as a contradictory political economic order which featured the largest nationalised sector in the Western hemisphere, but with no effective institutional framework capable of adjusting private industrial strategies to the state's plans.


Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol (EUI)


Cesare Vagge (Oxford University)

Scientific Organiser(s):

Alcide De Gasperi Research Centre

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