Tessa Morris-Suzuki




Japan: Beyond the ‘Lessons of Growth’

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the break-up of the Soviet bloc marked a dramatically visible turning point in the history of Eastern Europe. It is also becoming increasingly clear that these events marked a less visible, but nonetheless profound, turning point in the history of many other parts of the world, including Japan. By the end of the 1980s, Japan’s role as a world economic power was unquestioned. Almost 10% of the world’s exports originated in Japan and the country’s share in the total stock of direct foreign investment had risen from 5.1% in 1981 to 12.2% in 1989. Yet economic strength brought with it a number of increasingly intractable problems. The flow of labor from agriculture to industry — which had helped to sustain the high growth of the 1960s and early 1970s — had dried up, and Japan was facing intense competition from industrialized or industrializing Asian neighbors such as Korea, Taiwan, and China. Besides, as a technological leader, Japan no longer enjoyed the luxury of drawing upon a pool of already established techniques to adapt and apply to its own industries. Instead, it was forced to expand its role in the expensive and risky process of developing new basic technologies.

Japan — economy, economic growth, Marxism, Marxian economics

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 23, Nos. 1-2 (1996): 275-292


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