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Virgil Madgearu

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Virgil Madgearu

"Community of producers"

Madgearu defined his views on the industrial-agricultural relation in 1922, responding to mounting suspicions that his political faction was social class-based (and thus potentially revolutionary):



"If the peasant do 23423m1218x ctrine admits that the basis of its policies is class-focused, its concept of human society is not class-based and its ideas are less class-based than those of any other party. The other parties label themselves "socially harmonious", taking pride in themselves as national, fusing in their concerns the interests of all citizens. The peasant doctrine knows that they are, in reality, class-based parties, and, if it opposes them, it is precisely because of a national necessity, in order to ensure the normal social development of the people.

[...] The future society can only be a community of producers of manual and intellectual services, in which the labour of the one satisfying a human need, from bread production to poetry, shall be the only warrant for existence.

The economic and political doctrine of "socially harmonious" parties is domination of capital over labour. On the contrary, the peasant doctrine sees labour as dominating capital. The peasant should achieve a self-sufficient economic existence, and the industrial labourer should become an active collaborator in production, in cooperation with the intellectual labourer and the representatives of organized consumers."

His view on the role of peasant doctrine remained present in the National Peasants' Party program, as illustrated in Iuliu Maniu's 1926 speech on the group's ideology:

"If the National Peasants' Party on one hand relies on all the working and producing classes and aims to justly defend all these classes' economic and social interests, then, on the other, it cannot fail to note that the immense majority of the nation is formed by the peasant category."

Madgearu and Romanian Liberalism

Madgearu further contrasted his party's views with established politics, criticizing the policies of the National Liberals, who had ruled over Romania in previous decades:

"[...] in political rallying, peasant doctrine does not approve of the financial oligarchy's political domination, and strives to promote a truly democratic government, based on the freely-expressed will of popular masses, whose political awareness it seeks to awaken."

He expanded on this particular ideal in a 1924 article for Aurora:

"[If the Peasants' Party is to be victorious in elections] the shape of things would be changed. The National Bank would no longer be the economic fortress of the Liberal oligarchy. Trusts would no longer enslave and exploit the state. Their selfish and venal leaders would no longer be enthroned in overseeing positions over the country's destinies. Civil liberties nowadays suffocated and stolen civil rights would be fully restored, and the constitutional-parliamentary regime would become a reality, benefiting the development of popular masses as well as civilization."

Madgearu notably defended the vision of Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea in front of criticism from the maverick Liberal stefan Zeletin, who had written a comprehensive study of the Romanian bourgeoisie, overtly sympathetic towards economic liberalism.




Industrial evolution and state intervention

Carrying out a polemic with Marxism (while drawing inspiration from Rudolf Hilferding's Austromarxist views on economic history), Madgearu expanded on his belief that the new doctrine was universally acceptable and organic in the development of countries such as Romania:

"It could be objected, however, that peasant doctrine is hostile toward industry. It has been indicated that there is no disagreement between the development of an autonomous class of peasants and major industries, and that, quite the contrary, a mutual fulfillment was discovered between the development of peasant agriculture and major industrial enterprises...

In this sense, there is no question of agricultural policies versus industrial policies, of permanent and determined disagreement. Not even the doctrine of Poporanism denied the necessity of industrialization, but rather only the possibility of establishing a capitalist industry in underdeveloped agrarian environments. It is probable that the process of transformation of past agrarian states into industrial ones, on the basis of private property and free competition, will not be identically reproduced in present-day agrarian states. Even the social-democrat Kautsky stated that, in social transformation, there is no way of conceiving that an agricultural country should cover the same length and direction of the path taken by present-day industrial states."

In order to advance his proposed economic goals, Madgearu did however support a degree of state planning over the mixture of interventionism and laissez-faire advocated by the National Liberals:

"Without treasuring beyond measure the absolute value of planning in organizing the national economy, experience has shown the superiority of plan-based state intervention over that left to chance [...].

The multiple and varied interventions of the state in agriculture and industry, lacking any directive and continuity, are responsible for [the weakening of national economy].

[...] An economic plan does not at all imply the suppression or even a narrowing of private initiative in the economic life. An economic plan means containing and applying discipline to individual economic forces while maintaining the role of private initiative. An economic plan means coordinating the efforts of individual economic organizations and empowering them, through association and the systematic contribution of the state as the true representative of the national community."













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