Corporatism is a collectivist political ideology which advocates the organization of society by corporate groups, such as agricultural, labour, military, business, scientific, or guild associations, on the basis of their common interests. The term is derived from the Latin corpus, or "human body". The hypothesis that society will reach a peak of harmonious functioning when each of its divisions efficiently performs its designated function, such as a body's organs individually contributing its general health and functionality, lies at the center of corporatist theory. Corporatism does not refer to a political system dominated by large business interests, even though the latter are commonly referred to as "corporations" in modern American legal and pop cultural parlance; instead, the correct term for this theoretical system would be corporatocracy. However, the Cambridge dictionary says that a corporate state is a country in which a large part of the economy is controlled by the government.
Corporatism is not government corruption in politics or the use of bribery by corporate interest groups. The terms corporatocracy and corporatism are often confused due to their name and the use of corporations as organs of the state.
Corporatism developed during the 1850s in response to the rise of classical liberalism and Marxism, as it advocated cooperation between the classes instead of class conflict. Corporatism became one of the main tenets of fascism, and Benito Mussolini's fascist regime in Italy advocated the collective management of the economy by employers, workers, and state officials to reduce the marginalization of singular interests. Corporatism is a collectivist ideology where the corporates work together for a common interest.
Corporatist ideas have been expressed since ancient Greek and Roman societies, with integration into Catholic social teaching and Christian democratic political parties. They have been paired by various advocates and implemented in various societies with a wide variety of political systems, including authoritarianism, absolutism, fascism and liberalism.
Corporatism may also refer to economic tripartism involving negotiations between labour and business interest groups and the government to establish economic policy.