Corporatism, as a particular form of the representation of interests within the state apparatus of contemporary societies has been one of contemporary political science's most popular objects of analysis. The concept itself focuses on the character of interest-based associations and the type of relationship that they established with the State. From this perspective, corporatism's distinctive trait is the existence of non- competitive, compulsory associations that are hierarchically ordered and functionally differentiated, recognized, authorized or even created by the State, which acquire a deliberate monopoly over representation within their category, in exchange for which they are expected to comply with certain control over the choice of leadership and the articulation of demands. A distinction has been made between "societary corporatism" and "State corporatism". The former refers to a situation in which the typical form of organization for the representation of interests flows from the social groups which have been able to impose themselves on the State, thus gaining recognition as privileged interlocutors. However, when the characteristics of these organizations as well as their recognition or their very creation has been imposed by the State upon social groups and classes, we can speak of "State corporatism".
The chapters in this book analyze the Brazilian economy during several periods illustrating different governmental attitudes towards the economy in times of prosperity and crisis. Primarily, these attitudes are either free market or regulatory.