Japan's Technological Challenge to the West, 1950-1974
Japan's economiy has enjoyed unprecedented technological growth in the decades since World War II. At first stereotyped as an exporter of shoddy good, Japan now enjoys a worldwide reputation as an efficient manufacturer of high-quality products.
This book focuses on the unique experience of Japan's postwar industrialization. Although the literature of economics has frequently pointed out in passing that foreign technologies have been crucial to the formation of Japan's industries, until now there has been no detailed analysis to support this assertion.
The book first describes the postwar technological environment in and outside of Japan. It identifies the Schumpeterian characteristics of economic development and the particular set of relationships that Japan had with the United States and with developing nations in Asia that provided it with the incentive and the necessary mechanisms to advance technologically. The book then examines the Japanese government's selective policy of importing technology for the development of key industries, government controls on imports and on foreign industrial ownership, the efforts of individual Japanese firms to choose, adapt, and perfect imported technologies, and the development of indigenous technologies and their export to the rest of the world.
Two final chapters probe the social and psychological causes of Japan's century-old desire to catch up with and surpass the West in industrialization. They discuss the impact of recent changes in the international and domestic economic situation on both the traditional values of the Japanese and the direction of Japan's technological future, and take up some of the implications for the United States policy on technology and trade of Japan's rising competitiveness in the world market.