Exporting Fascism

Nation-states are in a constant competition to elevate their economy above that of every other economy to have a monopoly and hegemony on innovation. 20th century Spain followed these highly competitive attempts at innovation using tourism. Tourism did not act solely to render Spain as an economic beneficiary – Mediterranean scenery and culture speak to their own prowess –  but also acted as a soft power that included civilians and government. Crumbaugh focuses on the relationship between the business of tourism and fascism. Not only does it discuss the ability to maintain fascism through enterprise and the socioeconomic changes that ensue.

The changes of an economic landscape originated to solidify the Spanish dictatorship with this new impressive wave of revenue that was unparalleled by anything else observed in Europe at the time. The unrest of the 1960s on a global scale had Spain projecting its economic insecurities into a new format. A combination of leftist resistance movements, nationalist movements in Catalonia and the Basque regions, and student protests caused an uneasy government to embark on tourism. The introduction of tourism correlated with a massive economic increase and per capita income increase from $300 to $1500 in only a decade. Spanish civilians used this opportunity methodically – the new ability to accrue vast sums of wealth had a massive labour shift. Fishermen began to abandon their fishing rods and use their boats to ferry tourists around scenic coasts. The new economic freedoms under a once stringent regime simultaneously advanced Spain’s economy and removed previous barriers. Spaniards could now travel in and out of Spain, experience new cultures, and were subsequently exposed to new ideology through travel. The government had intended tourism to be methodical to export Spain’s brand of dictatorship. Similarly to not being able to avert one’s eyes from a car crash, being able to experience a totalitarian regime in real time has the same affect. Spain may be the propagator of dictator tourism, especially in its ability to expose on a civilian level political abilities, but this concept has transcended borders and boundaries. The Spanish model of economic advancements highlight a positive correlation between thriving industry and overall freedom. As Cumbaugh suggests, the acceleration of money and freedom of jobs translated into freedom of movement which gave civil society unpredicted access to overall advancements and led to the decline of the regime.

Contemporary Spain is no longer a dictatorship. Cumbagh accurately suggests that tourism simultaneously propelled Spanish freedoms while undermining the government that introduced them, however he fails to address the overall citizen opinion.

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