Economía y Empresa
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT: THE CASE OF JAPAN
In this task I'm going to try to provide a historical view of the Japanese economic development. Why Japan? I have chosen Japan because the first and best example of successful economic growth in a non-western countries. The fast growth of the last decades is just stopped, so it seems easier to describe the whole fast development course in a historical context. In other words, it's difficult to explain the development in a historical context of, for instance South Korea, because this process is still happening. In my opinion, the currently Asian Pacific growth it's remarkable, but there is a big gap between Japan and the rest of the countries in the area. In spite of this, I will deal with the relationships between Japan and its surroundings countries, because their economies are very related to each other's.
Moreover, I want to talk about economic development but emphasizing the importance of the non-economic factors, like institutions, people, organization, culture, etc.
Despite sometimes the fast transformation of Japan into an industrial country is regarded as a post Pacific War phenomenon, the strong economic development start after the “Meiji Restoration” (1868), but I will make a short historical introduction starting in the Middle Age in order to understand better all the process.
Colonization: threat like incentive to the development
Before the Meiji Restoration (in the middle nineteenth century), Japan was a country that we can compare with Java. Both were densely populated, both were engaged in labour-intensive rice cultivation, and both had roughly the same rice yield per hectare. But one main fact differences both: Java was colonized (by the Netherlands) but no Japan. Why? This is a good question that still today is source of debate.
Some opinions are that if Japan was not colonized is because it was lucky. It was not only poor in resources, but unattractive as a market, so that the Western Countries were not interested in it. There was better options to colonize.
But the former view is not shared for the most of the people who study the Japanese history.