TRAP OF INFORMATION CONTROL OVER JAPAN
(Translation of Review from Asahi Shinbun 5/6)
Noboru Fujii, Lawrence Feiner, Richard Melson, Muhammad Alwan
Hamano Publishing, Tokyo, Japan
Cambridge Forecast Group, 1985
book provides a new perspective on the dynamics of the world economy. I would
recommend this book especially to teachers of social science at this time when
the Japanese economy cannot be discussed without a global context. I agree
with the book's assertion that we live in a time when we should think of
economic growth in global terms, and that the narrow mindset of pursuing only
Japanese economic growth must be avoided.
the impression of the book's sensational title, if the theme dealt with in the
book were to be summarized, it might be "The Reagan administration and
the world economic crisis - its strategies for practical responses."
book points out that seemingly independent events such as the accumulation of
debt in the Third World, situations in the Middle East, U.S.-Soviet relations,
and domestic American political activities are indeed structurally
interrelated. Although the world view that emerges from this perspective is
different from the so-called "common sense" interpretation of
international relations, it is logical and consistent in its own way.
themes discussed in this book center on the changes in the world economy since
1979 to this day and the responses to them by the Reagan administration. FRB
chairman Volcker contained the inflation in the late 70's by controlling the
money supply, and this policy led to higher interest rates which resulted in the
very rapid accumulation of debt by third world countries. In order to solve
this, the United States increased its own external debt, while opening its
domestic market to third world countries, giving rise to the protectionism which
exists today. The book doesn't lay blame on conspiracies of media control as the
title suggests, but instead points out that, in the huge waves of structural
change in world economy, the Reagan administration attempted to respond
unilaterally, without coordination with industrial, OPEC and developing
countries. The observation that the nature of the Reagan administration changed
from grass roots conservatism to multi-national globalism is also interesting.
This book severely criticizes some Japanese perspectives on world economy and
U.S. policy which have become normative, and I found this very persuasive in its
own right. As in their previous work, World Economy/Big Prediction (Kappa
publishing 1984), the authors base their long term view on the assumption that
modernization of the developing world will be the engine of world economic
growth in the future. Even to a reader who doesn't agree with this prediction,
this book should be stimulating. For example, it sees a connection between the
invasion of Lebanon by the Israeli army in the spring of 1982 and the default by
Mexico in the summer of the same year. A "hypothesis" like this is
well worth our notice. It is this kind of strategic thinking that views and
understands international situations as an organic whole, without being fooled
by the flood of information from the mass media, that the Japanese need today,
and with which the book wanted to provide readers.
from Asahi Shinbun in 5/86
by Columbia University Tutoring and Translation Agency in 9/94.