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The slightly odd second date is because in 1994 I wrote this essay.

I went back to university that year, after quite a few years as a factory
worker and labourer.  One of the courses I did was on 'Japan and the World
Economy' and this is an essay I wrote during that course:

"In 1945 Japan’s collapse appeared total.  Its military were defeated and
disarmed and much of its industry was destroyed.  Twenty-five percent of
the country’s wealth and $20billion in overseas assets were wiped out.[5]
Apart from the maintenance of the titular position of emperor, much of its
political power structure was also demolished.  How did it manage to
recover so quickly and become the second most important economic power in
the world?

"Takatoshi Ito sees Japan’s phenomenal growth from the perspective of
conventional supply side/demand side economics.[6]  For him, “growth can
occur through capital accumulation, through increases in working hours and
employment, or through technological progress that enhances the
productivity of existing capital and labour.”  The relative importance of
each of these factors is analysed by measuring how much they grew by and
then relating this to overall growth.  Not surprisingly, the conclusion is
drawn that in Japan “capital accumulation was more important than labour”
and that “More than half of Japan’s growth is attributed to ‘technological
progress and residuals’.”[7] At the same time, Ito sees a drawback to this
approach, namely, “It does not offer any explanation as to why those
factors behaved as they did.”[8] As he notes, it simply raises a series of
other questions.  these include the source of finance for the large
increase in capital stock, whether the particularly high rate of
technological progress is attributable merely to ‘catching up’ with the
West, and the role the government played in achieving high levels of
growth.  These are certainly important, but they do not by themselves go to
the heart of the issue. . .

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