Can The Us Learn From The Japanese Economy?

1523 words - 6 pages

When I first entered this class I certainly had strong views and I still do but they have certainly been challenged over the past term. A stout Republican, I had a certain view of what capitalism embodies and my narrow sightedness sometimes led to weak opinions that others in the class tore down. I hope that this paper shows that my views have really become more open, as I have learned to consider a lot of different angles when addressing propositions such as this one.Japan versus the United States. Two countries separated not only by the largest ocean on earth but by extremely different views on many types of issues, one of which is certainly economic policy. The "land of the free" pushes individualism onto its residents; every American is pushed to supersede his brothers and sisters for personal wealth and glory, which they should do with a near win-at-all-costs attitude, sometimes disregarding their struggling neighbor in favor of chasing the fat wallet carried by the prominent bald eagle. I like American capitalism don't get the wrong idea; in America, especially at this time, there is no other system that could work. My life is centered around doing everything to the best of my ability and I like this and while Adam Smith told us early in the course that the "invisible hand" would take care of the economy, not the government, we have seen even this great principle is unable to stand alone. America has gone through its times of depression along with its high points and has needed the government, such as the New Deal reforms, to revive the dying economy when it was unable to hold itself up. I think that we should always strive to use capitalism in its purest, most free-market form, but I also recognize now that it is unrealistic to think that we can do this all of the time.That said, by no means do I condemn what the Japanese have been doing for the past forty years. I think as Fallows notes, first and foremost it is important to recognize the differences between the values of American and Japanese culture. In America the purpose of the economy is as mentioned above: to improve ones standard of living. In Japan it is drastically different and is used to improve national strength (Fallows 8). America trusts the market to help everyone; Japan is leery of what can happen when you turn the economy over to a bunch of individuals. America sees the person with power as a person who needs to be taken down, a person who has the ability to cause corruption, while Japan has accepted that power is inevitable and that they must deal with it as it exists. America sees the economy as something that is ever changingThe biggest principle in Japan's system is just this; they encourage the big companies to work with big banks and suppliers so they can become even bigger. Big business means that the national economy will grow. These companies then can give loans to other companies and get loans from the bank whenever they want; the bank is actually required to...

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