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Blindside: Why Japan Is Still on Track to Overtake the U. S. by the Year 2000

Blindside: Why Japan Is Still on Track to Overtake the U. S. by the Year 2000

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by Eamonn Fingleton

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Sometimes it seems as if Americans see Washington as the Vatican of world capitalism and Tokyo as merely another diocese,'' writes Fingleton, Asia editor of Euromoney magazine, but ``for the Japanese a more appropriate metaphor is the secular one of corporate competition. Tokyo is playing Microsoft to Washington's IBM.'' And Fingleton, closely examining Japan's economic thrust and its cultural traditions, finds it the inevitable winner. He compares favorably Japan's managed economy with the U.S. drive for free trade; discusses the pragmatic Confucian attitudes toward hierarchy, both for individuals and nations, versus the ``American rhetoric'' about democracy; and asserts that not only has America been poorly served for decades by its economists, politicians, media and elite, but it has been ``blindsided'' by Japan's misleading habits of apparent deference and its own ``semireligious'' view of economics. Although Japan is not on an ideological crusade to take over the world economically, its power structure gives it a flexibility that can make it the next global leader, asserts the author. This provocative and informed analysis is an antidote to the recent flurry of critiques that see Japan's current economic troubles as the same old omens of decline. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Despite the title and the publisher's statement on the book jacket (describing this book as a "disturbing portrait of the economic juggernaut that is still on course to overtake America by the century's close"), this is not a work of paranoid Japan-bashing in the manner of T. Boone Pickens and others' The Second Pearl Harbor: Say No to Japan (LJ 2/1/92) or Michael Crichton's best-selling novel Rising Sun. Rather, it is a thoughtful and insightful analysis of the inner workings of the Japanese economy, with particular emphasis on how it differs from the U.S. economy in outlook and perception. While the work clearly displays the problems arising from America's failure to understand how the Japanese think and operate, the work contains little of the conspiratorial thinking and out-and-out racial stereotypes of the aforementioned works. This book, by a journalist and business writer who has lived in Japan since 1985, is instead well written and balanced and deserves careful reading by anyone interested in its subject.-Scott Wright, Univ. of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.
David Rouse
Catalogers may have to dust off the discredited--and racist--Library of Congress subject heading "yellow peril" for this one. Because there have been a number of recent articles and books about the "bursting" of the Japanese "bubble economy," Japan bashing has been on the wane. But now Fingleton suggests that Japan's Ministry of Finance has manufactured the image of a faltering economy simply to deceive the West as part of a cunning strategy aimed at economic superiority. The author was the Tokyo-based editor of "Euromoney" and was also previously an editor at "Forbes" and "The Financial Times". He does document the strengths posted by the Japanese economy even during one of the worst global recessions, and he shows how Western observers have consistently underestimated and misunderstood Japan. Fingleton also provides a clear explanation of Japan's managed economy, which he describes as neither capitalism nor socialism--nor, as some suggest, a blend of the two. He argues that Japan has succeeded and will continue to succeed economically by setting limits on the economic freedom of its own citizens, but it is his premise--that Japan's goal is economic domination--that will create attention and controversy.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.34(d)

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Blindside 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is now Feb 2002. So much for the title's premise that Japan will overtake the US by 2000. The first lesson here is to remember that anyone's 'predictions,' no matter how eloquently presented, are just that - prediction by humans who are fallable. Mr. Fingleton, I suppose, does deserve scorn to the extent he was deriding at the 'experts' for being so doom and gloom. Well, doom and gloomers could be right sometimes. The second lesson here is, when journalists write a book, it is time to head for the hills. Journalists are journalists because they write well, but once a view is widely believed by the public so as to justify a market to make a book sellable, for your finanical health you should take the opposite view. In investment lingo, this is the 'headlines' phenomenon. Ie, the best time to buy stocks when magazine cover stories tell you that the stock market is so bad and will definitely end at Armageddon - as was the case in the early 1980's. The best time to sell is when the magazine cover stories say this is a new era of stocks that will know no top - as was the case two years ago at the end of the Internet bubble.