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Etatism - a kind of socio-economic policy of a mixed-state state (state-private) state meaning the taking over by the state of administration over private enterprises or the creation of new state-owned enterprises with the help of state capital.

Etatism (fr. l'État - state, état - state) in theory is the doctrine of state omnipotence, but in practice one can notice the connection with the state policy, which manages all matters and sets the network of orders and prohibitions. The ideal of etatism is a certain kind of socialism. The final definition was created during the Great Depression. From this moment, the concept of etatism is understood as the direct economic activity of the state, which consists in establishing and running state-owned enterprises. T. Parla and A. Davison believe that the assumption of the idea of etatism was the emergence of "national economics", parallel to "national politics". This was to stress the accumulation of capital and the development of national economies. The protection of local capital and the regime were to create a class of domestic buyers and sellers. The supreme goal of etatism was the interests of nations, not the society without classes, nor the liberal-capitalist system. It may be noted that individualism is rejected, but not all followers of etatism renounce liberalism in general, only economic liberalism.

According to J. Heller, etatism is defined as a set of concepts and opinions that oppose the rules of economic liberalism. The shortest one can be described as the fact that the economy has more influence on the economy in etatism than in liberalism, first of all in terms of production, distribution of income and property. Such a form of developed etatism can be observed in the countries in which the socialist system prevails, ie the system of non-market economy and socialized.

According to D. Drabińska, it is the result of the development of etatism in the narrow sense that the emergence of the state enterprise sector. The sphere of the development of etatism, without which it is impossible for the economy to function, is the economic infrastructure (e.g. transport, communication, energy). The development of this phenomenon arises first of all by taking over state-owned enterprises threatened by bankruptcy, but they must have some special significance for the country's economy. The group of these enterprises includes mining and processing of strategic raw materials. For the period in which etatism develops one can distinguish a period of intensified armaments or hostilities. Another reason is that the state strives to increase the state treasury income. You can then observe the formation of the so-called state monopolies. By observing economic reality and using the analysis of etatism on a global scale, one can conclude that it is only justified in one instance, when it stimulates, works for a better use of economic potential. However, in situations in which it does not contribute to it, one should strive to get rid of it.

Etatism and the possibility of economic development

Adam Krzyżanowski was the first to introduce a thesis that concerned the unprofitability of state-owned enterprises. He represented the view that the principle of economy is not the main factor in the private economy. He pointed out that these enterprises do not contribute to the development of the economy-accumulation, because they need permanent state subsidies, which are obtained from income taxes. As a result, tax overloads arise. "Krzyżanowski's Dogma" was developed by successive enthusiasts of liberal economics. It is worth paying attention to, Władysława Zawadzki, who emphasized the analogies between private and state enterprises and showed differences during the creation and operation of enterprises. He distinguished three differences between both types of enterprises:

  • Purpose (state-owned enterprises can not be mainly profit-oriented);
  • Relation to other economic units (the state should not treat citizens as a source of profit),
  • Independence of the direct manager (in the state enterprise decisions are made by administrative bodies).

He argued that state-owned enterprises have less capacity to exploit the productive forces in comparison with private enterprises. This is influenced by the contradictions of the idea of the state and the idea of an economic enterprise. In turn, Adam Heydel defines the following reasons for the unprofitability of state enterprises.

  • aiming for social, political and cultural activities, not profitability,
  • not flexible operation,
  • no anxiety before bankruptcy,
  • not necessarily the right choice of management.

Unprofitable state-owned enterprises require fixed fees. Funds for this are provided at the expense of a private initiative. It is taking resources from advantageous enterprises to those less profitable. It is only after the Great Crisis that the development of criticism of etatism can be seen. At the end of the thirties, Adam Heydel is already talking about other anti-statistic arguments. He believes that state-owned enterprises, even if they could, would not bring a maximum profit. The profits gained will not be properly regulated, because the state can not divide them between investment and consumption. He also emphasizes that this reduces the increase in the rate of economic growth, which occurs under conditions of free competition. The reason for this phenomenon is the lack of indicators through which prices, costs, interest rates and the degree of risk can be compared