Between Pork and Productivity: Upending the Japanese Model of Capitalism

Wed May 20th 2009, 12:00pm
Event Sponsor
Center for East Asian Studies
Okimoto Conference Room, Encina Hall East, 3rd Floor
Admission Information
Free and Open to the public.
Between Pork and Productivity: Upending the Japanese Model of Capitalism
Speaker: T. J. Pempel, Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley JAPAN STUDIES COLLOQUIUM SERIES, Spring 2009 Organized by Hwa-Ji Shin, Visiting Assistant Professor, FSI Stanford University Limited lunch will be provided. Free and open to the public. From the time of its inception in 1955, the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan fused two separate strands of political economy. One set of politicians drew the bulk of their support from the most highly productive segments of business, aligned with key government economic ministries and promoted policies aimed at industrial reorganization, export enhancement and balanced budgets. The other strand was made up of locally-based politicians most indebted to agriculture and small business with links to ministries like Construction and Agriculture; their economic orientation was toward government projects for their districts rather than national productivity. Rapid economic growth from 1955 until 1990 allowed both strands to cooperate but the bursting of the economic bubble kept the two sides at odds for most of Japan's 'lost decade.' Pork dominated and productivity suffered until being reversed by the Koizumi reforms. Koizumi's successors however have squandered his achievements leaving today's LDP opposed to economic policies that might return Japan to prior productive levels.
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