Before rising to political prominence in the post-war Italian Republic as one of the defining leaders of the Christian Democracy, Amintore Fanfani distinguished himself as an academic economist and economic historian. Trained at the Università Cattolica in Milan, he was a pupil of its founder and rector, Agostino Gemelli. The essay examines Fanfani’s writings, starting from his dissertation, which addressed the role of religion in the origins of capitalism and discussed Marx’s and Weber’s views. In this and his following articles, reviews and books, during the thirties, Fanfani argued in favour of the subordination of economic activity to superior moral ends provided by religion. Such a ‘voluntaristic’ perspective was embodied by the corporatist experiment. Following in the footsteps of Gemelli’s proposal of an alliance between Catholicism and Fascism, Fanfani went on to support many aspects of the regime, notably its imperial wars in Africa.
Amintore Fanfani. Università Cattolica. Corporatism. Origins of capitalism. Empire.