The Japanese Miracle

Editor’s Note: There is a ton of good stuff in our vast archives. We “extremists” are interested in all sorts of unorthodox things.

Here’s an excerpt from page 89 of Clyde Prestowitz’s The Betrayal of American Prosperity:

“Beginning with Japan, however, Asia became a completely different story. Japanese leaders completely rejected the free-market, free-trade Anglo-American doctrine and set out on their own version of the Hamilton road. …

As Naohiro Amaya, the former vice minister of Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), once explained to me: “We did the opposite of what American economists said. We violated all the normal concepts. The American view of economics may help business to increase current production or to lower current costs. But research and development is necessary for the future, and it is a gamble. Businessmen are risk-averse. They hesitate to take the gamble on new developments. Therefore, if the invisible hand cannot drive the enterprise to new developments, the visible hand must.” In this regard, MITI official K. Otabe also once noted that “if the theory of international trade were pursued to its ultimate conclusion, the United States would specialize in the production of autos and Japan in the production of tuna.” But he emphasized that this would not be the case, because the Japanese government believed that the creation of certain industries is “necessary to diversify and promote the development of the Japanese economy.”

In the aftermath of the Second World War, US trade negotiators advised the Japanese that they were foolish to develop automobile and consumer electronics industries to compete with Americans because their actual comparative advantage was in seafood.


Note: Here are some YouTube lectures from another smart person that I have read in the past. I also have no idea whether or not he is Jewish. I’ve also recently ordered Klaus Mühlhahn’s Making China Modern: From the Great Qing to Xi Jinping and Kai-Fu Lee’s AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order which will be reviewed here in the months ahead.

Just a Southern tune that I am listening to while browsing the news:

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  1. Those C SPAN lectures are as dry as the Salton Sea, HW. You and Dr. Hill need to make more speeches.

  2. “Computer chips, potato chips, what’s the difference?”
    – Michael Boskin, economic advisor to George H.W. Bush

  3. Japan’s output per worker-hour remains similar to that of lower average IQ Italy. It’s no richer (in GDP/capita) than Britain or Alabama by PPP. Its enormous trade surpluses of the past now seem like wasteful extravagance more than anything. As James Fallows wrote in 1989, at the beginning of the Heisei era (now coming to an end) and the height of fear and admiration of Japan in the West,

    “One indication of imbalance is so obvious that it seems almost tasteless to bring it up. This is the gap between Japan’s export success and its artificially suppressed consumption at home. The same country that has the biggest cash surpluses and the largest overseas investments in the world also has by far the highest consumer prices, the highest proportion of unpaved roads among developed countries, the lowest per capita endowment of parks, sporting areas, and other public facilities, and across the board the least materially bountiful life.”

    Other than growing economic sclerosis in Southern Europe, the situation has not changed much relative to the United States since this was written. Japan’s productivity is strong in sectors it is famous for, but weak sectors it is not famous for. Japan’s cultural characteristics (described well in the Fallows article) can be great strengths in some situations and important weaknesses in others. Nevertheless, the Japanese are to be commended for adopting Western ways quickly, thoroughly, and in an organized fashion while preserving their own language and much of their culture, for their orderliness, for their work ethic, as well as for their (relative) resistance to degeneracy and to non-work-related immigration. The Japanese diet is also substantially superior to the standard American one (especially the standard lower-class interior Southern one) for the preservation of life expectancy.

  4. Trump and the GOP are big believers in an agrarian economy which is why he and the GOP focus heavily on poultry, soybeans, and seafood in our trade negotiations while China focuses on the high tech goods of the 21st century.

    The “free-market” recommended that America become a low-wage third world shit hole and that is what we have become. Of course the “managers” also known as the top 10% gated themselves off in their urban communities where all the profit & investment ends up after they pay their mercenary force known as the US military to protect their investments all around the world.

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