Italy. The direction of foreign trade. Revival of Trade Unions’ movement. Fascist corporations and class federations

Tratto da:

The Economist

Data di pubblicazione: 13/12/1924

Italy. The direction of foreign trade. Revival of Trade Unions’ movement. Fascist corporations and class federations

«The Economist», 13 dicembre 1924, p. 964

 

 

 

Turin, November 30

 

 

It is very difficult, on the basis of published statistics, to analyse the direction of Italian foreign trade. Only for a few States are the figures up to date. Imports from leading countries (in millions of lire) are shown below:

 

 

 

IMPORTS

1913

1923

From Jan. 1, to Aug. 31, 1924

Austria – Hungary

 

Successor States

264.1

Austria

325.6

275.7

Czecho – Slovakia

158.5

146.9

Serbo – Croats – Slovene Kingdom

489.3

356.2

France

280.9

1,322.6

922.8

Germany

612.5

1,299.1

946.0

Great Britain

601.1

2,189.7

1,389.2

Switzerland

88.5

375.8

243.5

Argentina

173.8

1,053.0

707.5

United States

505.6

4,619.5

3,183.8

Total of the principal States

2,526.5

11,833.1

8,171.4

Other States

1,111.3

5,365.4

4,229.9

General Total

3,637.8

17,198.5

12,401.3

 

 

The increase of the total import value figure is roughly in the ratio of 1 to 4-5, which is the ratio of the depreciation of the lira in terms of gold. Two-thirds of the total trade is to-day, as in 1913, transacted with the seven principal States, or their successors, but the relative importance of the single States is changed. The United States, which held the third place in 1913, is to-day easily first; Great Britain has gained the second place; and France became third. It is, however, probable that Germany in 1924 will reconquer a part of the lost ground. Preliminary conversations for a commercial treaty have taken place, and on December 4th the official delegates of the two countries will meet in Rome.

 

 

The 1923 exports of the three successor States to Italy, judged by values, were four or five times those of the whole of Austria-Hungary in 1913. The new Serb Kingdom is one of the most promising fields of trade for Italy. The following table shows Italy’s principal customers:

 

 

Exports (In Millions of Lire)

 

1913

1923

From Jan. 1, to Aug. 31, 1924

Austria – Hungary

 

Successor States

218.8

Austria

335.2

415.6

Czecho – Slovakia

67.2

79.5

Serbo – Croats – Slovene Kingdom

336.0

233.6

France

230.9

1,601.2

1,140.4

Germany

338

692.9

944.8

Great Britain

261.1

1,200.2

889.0

Switzerland

248.6

1,201.4

970.3

Argentina

190.3

740.7

491.6

United States

257.7

1,512.5

677.5

Total of the principal States

1,745.7

7,687.3

5,842.3

Other States

758.2

3,372.2

2,696.9

General Total

2,503.9

11,059.5

8,539.2

 

 

Here France steps into the first place; United States comes next; while Great Britain and Switzerland maintain their old position. But here, again, Germany promises to return in the current year to her old position as the best market for our agricultural, silk, and other textile goods.

 

 

Perhaps the most significant economic event in the month of November was the revival of the working-class movement. The 1924 total of strikes and working days lost by strikers will be much over that for 1923. The atmosphere, above all, is changed, and workers are no more prone to submit to the omnipotent influence of the Fascist Corporation. These held last week their Congress at Rome, preaching, as usual, the gospel of harmony between capital and labour. It was, however, a significant indication of the new spirit that the Corporations denounced fiercely those captains of industry who were obdurate enough not to accept all the proposal made on behalf of workers.

 

 

The great majority of workers suspects organisations which are not simply for Labour against Capital, and is true in its allegiance to the old Federations. Fascist Trade Unions are called «Corporations» perhaps as a reminder of the medieval Corporations, in which all classes of capitalists and workers were amalgamated; while old Trade Unions, sympathisers with Socialism, maintain their old name «Federations», and are directed by the «General Labour Confederation». At Milan, which was said to be a stronghold of the Fascist Corporations, when the latter signed a new wages contract in metallurgical industry, the men flatly refused to accept it. At a referendum, almost the entire body of workers ranged themselves under the old banner of the Federation. And when entrepreneur organisations, disdaining to take note of the referendum, maintained that the wages contract signed between themselves and the Fascist Corporations was to be observed, the men struck for a day in proportions which ranged from 50 to 100 per cent. of the number employed in various establishments.

 

 

After a lapse of two years, a Congress of the Trade Unions adhering to the General Labour Confederations will shortly be held. While in November and December, 1922, there was much wild talk about D’Aragona and Buozzi, and other leaders of the workers’ movement going into the Mussolini Cabinet, to-day the only debated question is whether the Trade Union Organisation will be captured by Communists or Marxian Socialists, or held, as at present, by the United Socialist Party, which is a sort of British Labourism, perhaps, with a greater tinge of pure politicians of the Turati and Treves type.

 

 

Expectations favour a victory for the latter.

Torna su