A POLITICAL HISTORY OF JAPANESE CAPITALISM by Jon Halliday

A POLITICAL HISTORY OF JAPANESE CAPITALISM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Especially because there exists no comparable survey of Japanese history written from a leftist point of view, this is a striking contribution. Don't count on it as an economic reference, though; Halliday has done a pretentious cut-and-paste job on such subjects as Japanese capital formation, and his treatment is often inconsistent and confusing though superficially plausible until you try to pin down how the surplus rice was sold and whether the agricultural nobility tax-farmed or exerted ""feudal"" sway. The political aspects of Japanese industrialization include the synthetic creation of a religious-familial ideology which still has great importance. And the chronic repression of labor organizations as well as the left is emphasized, again with certain inconsistencies -- Halliday describes the ""moving"" character of a workers' assembly assaulting a dummy symbol of the cartels, which only sounds sad and impotent especially since the book later notes this practice was subsequently picked up and encouraged by management itself. The book draws together useful information about the perpetuation, under MacArthur, of the old Japanese ruling strata, as well as the effects of land reform in creating a new reserve of cheap urban labor. On the role of Japan in present-day ""imperialism"" Halliday is quite weak, however, reporting without curiosity that exports are low relative to the GNP, and scanting the 1960's capital flow from U.S. banks to Tokyo. Yet this remains a rich source on a subject usually treated with deadening academicism or bland insipid generalities. Halliday is a British writer and co-editor of New Left Review.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1975
Publisher: Pantheon