Monday, July 04, 2005

The sad Fate of M.I.T.-educated managers...

Greg Ip and Neil King in the Walls Street Journal write on Japan and Germany's peaceful foreign trade development (Via Brad DeLong )
During the 1920s, Japan had low import tariffs and its democratic, civilian government encouraged domestic alliances with European and American companies to hasten Japan's technological catch-up, said Hideaki Miyajima, a Japanese economic historian at Waseda University in Tokyo and a visiting scholar at Harvard. General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. operated Japan's only major automobile assembly plants. The heads of Japan's "zaibatsu" -- urban industrial conglomerates -- were pro-Western. Many sent their children to U.S. universities. But these pro-Western elites were too weak to resist the forces of militarism and imperial expansion.... In 1932, military-backed right-wing nationalists assassinated both Japan's prime minister and one of its leading business figures, Takuma Dan, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-educated manager of the Mitsui Group zaibatsu. In 1936-37, the military completed its takeover....

Germany's rivalry with Britain is similarly complex.... Britain's old-line industrial elites saw Germany as a threat, while its emerging financial elites saw it as an opportunity. Within Germany, Ruhr-based heavy industry favored the army buildup and were more willing to risk conflict with Britain, while Hamburg-based trading interests were more pro-British, though supportive of the German fleet buildup....
That's an interesting information. It basicly shows how the economic relations determine (or at least correlate with) foreign policy positions.

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