In an essay I came across two political concepts that I'm incapable of distinguishing. What is difference between corporatism and craft unionism? I have read somewhere that the idea of corporatism was vital to Mussolini's Italy. How can it be? How did Mussolini use corporatism to underpin its fascist government? The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology has defined it so:

'..in recent usage in the social sciences, the concept of corporatism has shrugged off its earlier association with authoritarian and fascist regimes, and has come to be deployed as a means for analyzing the role of organized interests in present- day liberal democracies. Corporatism has also passed into common political usage as a shorthand for the involvement of trade unions, together with organizations representing the interests of capital in bargaining with governments over economic policies. In public debate corporatism has come to be seen as the antithesis of neoliberalism, in which governments seek to use competition rather than negotiation as the dynamic of policy-making..'

Also, what kind of role did craft unionism play before The US New Deal? Why does the leftist author of this text chide craft unionism?

May Day began on the streets of Chicago in 1886, and was celebrated in Havana and other Latin American cities as early as 1890. Organized labour proved to be an important force in the Americas, even if it was usually kept subordinate. The US New Deal marked a confluence between enlightened liberalism and the industrial working class, which succeeded in organizing itself during the Depression years through heroic struggles. Samuel Gompers may have epitomized the parochial craft unionism which preceded the New Deal, but he was a formidable negotiator on behalf of the skilled workers that his movement represented, and was honoured with a monument in Washington that exceeded any bestowed upon a workers’ leader in Paris, London or Berlin.

  • 3
    I think the leftist's lack of respect for craft unionism has to do with the fact that skilled workers (craftsmen) already have power. Companies have to treat skilled craftsmen well or fear losing them and strikes are especially effective. The real trick of union organizing is to get better benefits for unskilled workers who can be almost instantly replaced by scabs. Progressive thinkers are often much more concerned with low wage unskilled workers than solidly middle class craftsmen.
    – lazarusL
    Jul 26, 2017 at 16:45
  • @lazarusL 'craft unionism' isn't about any particular skill level. It simply refers to a union of that craft. Hotel housekeepers could be in a craft union, as could NASA engineers.
    – user1530
    Aug 24, 2017 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


In the craft unionism the workers "join" by their profession, while in corporatism, workers join their company.

It is as if the Volkswagen mechanics were united (craft unionism) or if all the workers of the Volkswagen company were united (corporatism).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .