The Japan That Never Was: Explaining the Rise and Decline of a Misunderstood Country

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In this book, the authors address Japan's economic crisis of the 1990s. They argue that most attempts to reconcile Japan's past success with its current problems have been inadequate, primarily because scholars fail to fully understand how Japan's political-economic system was organized and how it operated in the past. Revealing that certain long-term political and economic trends suggested in subtle but unambiguous ways that the crisis of the 1990s was long in the making, the authors offer an alternative ...
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Overview

In this book, the authors address Japan's economic crisis of the 1990s. They argue that most attempts to reconcile Japan's past success with its current problems have been inadequate, primarily because scholars fail to fully understand how Japan's political-economic system was organized and how it operated in the past. Revealing that certain long-term political and economic trends suggested in subtle but unambiguous ways that the crisis of the 1990s was long in the making, the authors offer an alternative explanation for Japan's postwar political-economic trajectory and a better understanding of the challenges that Japan currently faces.
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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Economist Beason and political scientist Patterson have teamed up to challenge the conventional interpretation of Japan's postwar "miracle" economy and its collapse in the 1990s. As their title bluntly puts it, Japan never was what most scholars claimed: a state-guided economy. They dismiss the idea that Japan's bureaucrats skillfully selected industries for state aid, asserting instead that it was politicians who guided decisions. Moreover, they argue, Japan's postwar success was not as awesome and the recent downturn not as dramatic as has been made out. Beason and Patterson have an important argument to make about the difficult decisions Japan faces as it prepares to carry out political and economic reforms. Unfortunately, the strenuous effort they put into criticizing the work of Japan specialists obscures their original findings.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791460399
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dick Beason is Professor of Economics at the University of Alberta and the coauthor (with Jason James) of The Political Economy of Japanese Financial Markets: Myths versus Reality.

Dennis Patterson is Professor of Political Science at Texas Tech University.

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Table of Contents

Tables and figures
Acknowledgments
I The misunderstood country
1 The Japan that never was 2
2 How different is different? Bureaucrats, politicians, and economic policy making in postwar Japan 11
II Political economics in a capitalist Japan
3 The problem of Japanese industrial policy 30
4 Management practices and labor relations: a Japanese system or economic incentives? 53
5 The postwar Japanese economy: from high growth to structural adjustment 79
III Politics and policy making in a democratic nation
6 The electoral origins of Japan's economic policies 96
7 Political change and economic policy making 113
8 Postwar Japanese politics: from LDP predominance to coalition politics 141
IV Japan in the new millennium
9 The past in Japan's political-economic future 164
Notes 181
References 199
Index 209
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2004

    Authors Throw Down Gauntlet, Challenge Conventional Views on Japan

    A cogently argued text, written by an economist and a political scientist, challenges conventional views about Japan, its economy, and its politics. A must-read for anyone interested in post-war Japan.

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