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MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925-1975 1st Edition
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MITI is useful in understanding Japan's last century in that it attempts to give an unbiased, insider's view of the history of Japan's industrial boom. Johnson's central argument is that Japan owes its unprecedented and generally unexplainable (inscrutable) economic achievements to what he calls a "plan-rational system". Johnson believes that the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) combined with Japan's "iron triangle" formed from the government, bureaucrats and heavy industry were not only interconnected but completely interdependent; working together as a single whole with only one goal: economic development.
The first chapter entitled, "The Japanese `Miracle'" serves a double purpose of showing the central argument of the text while at the same time analyzes and eventually disproves/ invalidates the four main conclusions being drawn by Johnson's contemporaries about Japan's economic boom. Here, Johnson explains the first theory, "The national-character explanation argues that the economic miracle occurred because the Japanese possess a unique, culturally derived capacity to cooperate with each other, " (8).Read more ›
Up until that time MITI was Japan's blunt instrument of economic policy and industrial structure. It was both revered and feared by the industries and cartels it espoused and nurtured. Staffed by handpicked and elite bureaucrats, this prodigious promoter of Japan's industry, productivity and exports was the official forum responsible for knitting the country's moves in the economic arena from its perch in Tokyo. It is not explicitly mentioned in this book, but on occasion, MITI was also complicit in suppressing internal Japanese citizens' dissent or protest against industry such as with the infamous Minamata Disease. MITI was also feared and disliked by foreign interests for its skillful shielding of Japanese economy from competition and penetration with the aid of both its own guidelines and associated laws.
MITI is "without doubt the greatest concentration of brain power in Japan" according to the book. That is a profound statement by Chalmers Johnson, the author and, now-deceased, Japan expert.Read more ›
Johnson revived almost forgotten ghost from the sea of oblivion: mercantilism.
Mercantilism seemed completely beaten away long before modern economics took shape. Mercantilism was a pragmatic adaptation, not a theory of how economies are supposed to operate. It anticipates or at times contradicts market signals, with the goal of channeling resources to (or away from) selected sectors, in the interests of the prosperity of the one or the power of other. But economists argued that such a policy is no more than the terror against market efficiency. The wisdom of the state can¡¯t be claimed to be more efficient than market. Moreover, it often mass-produces rent-seeking distortions on resource allocation. It makes more harms than benefits. The state should not guide the resource allocation. The role of the state lies in other area: providing the public good and responding to market failures.
Johnson labeled this kind of role as the ¡®regulatory state¡¯. The United States and Britain exemplify the ¡®regulatory state.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm so surprise that it could be prime. It comes very quick and have fair quality. A little bit older than I expected, but consider the price, quite fair.Published on December 7, 2013 by Qiannan Zhang
This book was written 30 years and it is still the most insightful, clear, and well-written book on Japanese politics, economy, and bureaucracy. Read morePublished on January 28, 2012 by JR
Considered to be one of the first books that pointed the different capitalist style that Japan practiced from 1925 to 1975. Read morePublished on November 17, 2002 by Dan4BSS