The Opus Dei Ethic, the Technocrats and the Modernization of Spain

Author: José Casanova

February 1, 1983

Examining the modernization of Spain into a 20th-century industrialized economy in the 1960s, in this article Casanova investigates the role played by the Catholic Opus Dei organization as the "adequate carriers" of the policy agenda of Spanish modernization. Critical to the process of modernizing Spain was the rise of "technocratic" governance, in which the upper echelon of the Spanish government bureaucracy was filled with people who had a vision of a modernized Spain and were ready to use their bureaucratic power to make it a reality. A large number of the technocrats were Opus Dei members, but Casanova concludes that was largely coincidental: the technocrats "were appointed to high office not because of what they were [i.e. Opus Dei members] but because of what they wanted to do." Thus, any analysis of either the technocrats or the Opus Dei simply as "power organizations" is "insufficient"; both were instrumental in modernizing Spain, but technocracy was not an inside move on the government by a secretive Catholic organization. This essay was published in Social Science Information.

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