Lenin and Stalin oppositionally called fascism the “final stage of capitalism.” Is it really a “third way” as its proponents argued or is it just an evolutionary development of capitalism as Lenin and Stalin argued?
It is not really possible to know if fascism is the final stage of capitalism. It is possible that all capitalist societies will one day become fascist. However, this has not yet happened. Therefore, we do not know if fascism is truly the final stage of capitalism.
Fascism is somewhat similar to capitalism in some limited ways. In fascist systems, businesses are owned by private persons, not by the state. Businesses are out to make profit. Private ownership and profit are hallmarks of the capitalist system.
However, it seems clear that fascism is very different from capitalism. In capitalism, businesses compete with one another and the government generally stays out of the way. By contrast, in fascism, the businesses cooperate with the state. They essentially do what the state tells them to do. In a fascist system, there is not supposed to be any conflict. All sectors of society and indeed all individuals are supposed to pull together for a common cause. This is not how things are in capitalism where businesses compete and there can be conflict between labor and employers. Thus, fascism and capitalism are clearly not the same thing and it would seem to be a "third way.".