Alberto De Stefani
Alberto De Stefani (1879–1969) was an Italian politician and economist. Coming from a background in liberalism to Benito Mussolini's fascism, De Stefani was in charge of Italian economics from 1922 to 1925. His time in charge was characterized by laissez-faire ideals.
De Stefani was appointed by Mussolini in 1922 as the finance minister. He was a liberal economist and a former stalwart leader in the Centre Party[clarification needed] who favoured policies such as free-trade, lowering taxes without too much government interference and privatisation of businesses such as the communications industry. He also undertook a thorough reform of the taxation system in Italy which was adjudged a success at the time, although it has been noted that the reforms he enacted had been laid out by his predecessor Filippo Meda but not enacted. De Stefani took advantage of the dictatorial powers afforded to Mussolini's regime to enact these reforms, which had previously been blocked by parliament.
The economy prospered under de Stefani's direction, as part of a Europe-wide growth, although wages also fell under his direction. He accomplished his goal of a balanced budget for the financial year 1924–25. By mid-1925, however, the economy was heading towards crisis and Mussolini dismissed de Stefani, replacing him with the corporatist Giuseppe Volpi.
Later political career
Although removed from his position as minister de Stefani remained a member of the Grand Council of Fascism until the collapse of Mussolini's regime. From this position de Stefani often criticised some of the actions of Mussolini's government. Although an economic liberal, he was socially conservative and in 1928 launched an attack on what he felt was the "abundantly liberal" legislation being passed on marriage, arguing that those who chose not to procreate should be denied the same legal rights as parents. He would later become associated with a tendency that included fellow movement veterans Emilio De Bono, Italo Balbo and Luigi Federzoni that was highly critical of the introduction of Nazi Germany-influenced racial laws into Italy.
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