The Instigator
Logic_on_rails
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points
The Contender
The_Mestari
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Meiji Japan - Gov. Responsible for Economic Development

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Logic_on_rails
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/26/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 934 times Debate No: 68302
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

Logic_on_rails

Pro

Resolved: The Meiji Government of Japan was indispensable to facilitating the economic development of Japan in the Meiji Period in the years 1868-1885

Facilitate - to make easier or less difficult; help forward (an action, a process,etc.)

Economic development -A broad measure of welfare in a nation that includes indicators of health, education, and environmental quality as well as material living standards. [NB: Economic development is NOT the same as economic growth)

Indispensable - Absolutely necessary; the sine qua non

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Debate Structure:

Round 1: Acceptance / disclosure of sources
Round 2: Presentation of Opening Argument
Round 3: Presentation of New arguments / rebuttals (do not be abusive with new arguments)
Round 4: Final rebuttals / conclusions

NB: Though I will list sources in R1, new sources can be listed in later rounds.

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Burden of Proof:

I want to make really, really clear to voters what the resolution means for BOP:

If Pro proves that the substantial economic development of the Meiji era would not have occurred without the Meiji government's leadership, he wins. If Con casts doubt on this claim, or shows other factors to, instead, be indispensable / more important, he wins. 'Substantial economic development' simply means that without government action we would have seen a far less modernised Japan.

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Acceptance Conditions:

I have made this debate impossible to accept currently. If you wish to accept, PM me or leave a message in the comments. I am looking to debate a reasonably experienced, competent debater who has some idea of Japanese history. To be very clear - I know a fair bit about this topic. See my sources list below. I can give an opponent access to most of these resources if necessary. PM me for information about what resources I can give you access to. As the challenger, feel free to use any resource you like.

Also, I am willing to be fairly flexible with the resolution. I can debate both sides of the resolution. I could change the word 'indispensable' to 'on balance' or something similar. I am also open to shifting the dates of the date. I could make it the whole Meiji Period (1868-1912), yet then the wording may need to be shifted

I don't want a semantics war. Definitions and BOP are NOT up for contention. If there is confusion, please message me prior to accepting the debate. Repeat - semantics is not a valid counter argument. Go and argue how it was the Tokugawa economic development that paved the way for Meiji development, or the Western powers, of Japanese entrepreneurial development ... or surprise me. Just no semantics. We all know what indispensable and facilitate mean.
Sources

NB: I am unlikely to use many of these sources! I simply offer these as references.
NB2: Both sides are free to engage in heavy use of historiography and the deconstruction of historians! I studied this topic for my major work in the NSW History Extension course where the primary focus was on the construction of history, not history itself

Bailey, Paul J. Postwar Japan: 1945 to the Present, Great Britain, Blackwell Publishers, 1996.

Beckmann, George M. The Modernisation of China and Japan, Japan, Harper & Row, 1965.

Collier, Douglas. 100 Great Kings, Queens and Rulers of the World , Great Britain, Odhams (Watford) Ltd., 1967.

Cooper, E.M. Japan: An Historical and Cultural Introduction, Australia, Pergamon Press Australia, 1970.

Craig, Albert, and Edwin Reischauer. Japan (Revised Edition), Australia, Allen and Unwin Australia, 1989

Crawcour, Sydney. The Cambridge History of Japan Volume 5 : The Nineteenth Century (Ch. 9), Great Britain, Cambridge University Press, 1989, pg. 616

Cullen, L.M. A History of Japan, 1582-1941, Great Britain, Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Gluck, Carol. Japan’s Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period, USA, Princeton University Press, 1985

Gluck, C. ‘Japan’s Modernities, 1850s-1990s’, in Ainslie T. Embree and Carol Gluck, eds. Asia in Western and World History, 1997, pp. 561-593

Fletcher, Arnold, Arthur J. May, and C. Harold King. A History of Civilisation: One Volume Edition, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1969.

Fujitani, Takeshi. ‘The Monarch in Japan’s Modernity’, Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan. California U.P., 1996, pp. 155-194

Fujitani, Takeshi. ‘Inventing, Forgetting, Remembering: Toward a Historical Ethnography of the Nation-State’. In H. Befu ed., Cultural Nationalism in East Asia: Representation and Identity, 1993, pp. 77-106.

Gordon, Andrew. A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present, New York, Oxford University Press, 2003

Goto-Jones, Christopher. Modern Japan A Very Short Introduction, Great Britain, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Hane, Mikiso. Modern Japan: A Historical Survey, USA, Westview Press, 1986.

Howe, Christopher. The Origins of Japanese Trade Supremacy: development and technology in Asia from 1540 to the Pacific War, London, The University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Jansen, Marius B. The Making of Modern Japan, USA, Harvard University Press, 2000.

Morris Suzuki, Tessa. Re-inventing Japan: Time, Space, Nation, 1998, chs 1 and 2

Nakamura, James. Agricultural Production and the Economic Development of Japan, 1873–1922 , Princeton University Press, 1966

Ohno, Kenichi. The Economic Development of Japan: The Path Travelled by Japan as a Developing Country, Tokyo, GRIPS Development Forum, 2006.

Preston, P.W. Understanding Modern Japan: A Political Economy of Development, Culture and Global Power, Great Britain, SAGE Publications, 2000.

Sheridan, Kyoko. Governing the Japanese Economy. United Kingdom, Cambridge Polity Press, 1993.

Tipton, Elise K. Modern Japan: A social and political history, Great Britain, Routledge, 2002.

Walthall, Anne. Japan: A Cultural, Social and Political History, USA, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.

Whitney, John. Japan: From Prehistory to Modern Times, Singapore, Tuttle Publishing, 1971.

Journal Articles

Bassino, JeanR08;Pascal. The Growth of Agricultural Output and Food Supply in Meiji Japan: Economic Miracle or Statistical Artifact?, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 54(2), 2006, pp. 503-520

Bhatawdekar, M. V. Economic Growth and Educational Development: Lessons from the Case of Japan, Economic and Political Weekly, 7(35), 1972, pp. 1793-1801

Colcutt, Martin. Marius Berthus Jansen (1922-2000), The Journal of Asian Studies, 60(2), 2001, pp. 621-622

Crawcour, Sydney. The Tokugawa Period and Japan's Preparation for Modern Economic Growth, Journal of Japanese Studies, 1(1), 1974, pp. 113-125

Hauser William B. Some Misconceptions about the Economic History of Tokugawa Japan, The History Teacher, 16(4), 1983, pp. 569-583

Nakamura, Naofumi. Meiji-Era Industrialisation and Provincial Vitality: The Significance of the First Enterprise Boom of the 1880s, , Social Science Japan Journal, 3(2) ,2000, pp. 187-205

Sussman, Nathan and Yishay Yafeh, Institutions, Reforms, and Country Risk: Lessons from Japanese Government Debt in the Meiji Era, The Journal of Economic History, 60(2), 2000, pp. 442-467

Tipton, Frank B. Government Policy and Economic Development in Germany and Japan: A Skeptical Reevaluation, The Journal of Economic History, 41(1), 1981, pp. 139-150

Yasuba, Yasukichi. Standard of Living in Japan Before Industrialization: From what Level did Japan Begin? A Comment, The Journal of Economic History, 46(1), 1986, pp. 217-224

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I thank The_Mestari for accepting this debate. I look forward to a good fight.
The_Mestari

Con

I had an encyclopedia of sources from a week's worth of research, but then I realized how boring of a debate that would result in. I'm going to take Logic_on_rails up on the idea of heavily recreating history in the exploration of alternatives, which means I need to do new research, but I don't want to hold up the debate since I already know the basis of my new arguments. I think this is going to be fun. ;)
Debate Round No. 1
Logic_on_rails

Pro

The Meiji government was indispensable in facilitating economic modernisation in Japan from 1868-1885, for four key reasons. One, The government provided the political stability and unity required to spur confidence in foreign investors and domestic entrepreneurs to facilitate economic development. Secondly, they provided social and political reforms necessary for development. Most crucially of all though, the government from 1868-1885 was the leader in the infrastructure development required to facilitate development. They made modernisation possible, created an educated workforce, and were the “launching pad for further growth.”

Political Stability Allows for Growth

Historical Background

In 1868 Japan was one of the world’s most fragmented polities. ‘Japan’ was still divided into nearly 200 autonomous domains with their own treasury and army. Ikki – social unrest – was rife among the peasantry. In 1868 the new ‘government’ was a small band of insurgents without control of Japan. The four domains of Choshu, Satsuma, Hizen and Tosa which had prominent military force distrusted each other. Court nobles were independent. Demands for democracy began to arise. A feudal like social structure existed. Only ‘very vague’ (Cullen, pg. 205) notions of Japanese nationalism existed.

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Yet, a scarce three years later political stability and centralisation had been achieved. So, what caused this stability? The essential factor was the “exceptionally able” statesmen Japan had at this time. (Hane) Japan has rarely, if ever, had more able leaders than in the Meiji era (Whitney, pg. 267; Elise Tipton, pg. 36) , and as the specialist political historian Marius Jansen states “The Meiji Leaders were by any measure a remarkable assemblage.” (pg. 372) The personal diplomacy of the leaders went a ‘long way’ (Beckman, pg. 267) to dismantling the prefectural system, creating a unified ‘Japan’ and allowing economic development to occur with economies of scale and organisation. To be clear, all modern contraptions of government – be they military, the stock market, a federal reserve, ‘ministries’ etc. – did not exist on a unified scale before 1868. The Tokugawa system was insufficient to promote growth. Uniting Japan as a country was necessary for ‘Japanese economic development.’

Remember, as Marius Jansen, states in The Making of Modern Japan, political reform “took place so swiftly that the difficulties can be forgotten much too easily.”[1] What we take for granted – political stability, working government, a unified country – was not present in 1868. The Meiji gov. was responsible for change.

Social / Political / Educational Reforms Foster Development

The government moved swiftly to abolish Japan’s feudal style han system and limit the cost of samurai stipends. This had two extremely significant impacts. Firstly, occupational mobility was greatly increased, facilitating the development of the middle class which were responsible for over 50% of gains in real national income in the following decades. (Walthall, pg. 158) Secondly, and no less importantly, new funds for vital infrastructure development became available, driving economic growth.

The government also established a national education system, which fostered the development of skilled workers in Japan. More on this below.

The government was the facilitator of infrastructure; This caused development

Voters – weigh infrastructure development as the most important point in this debate. Economic development requires infrastructure development. The question is who caused infrastructure to develop? Voters, the following statistic is paramount in this debate:

“Every year from 1868-1885 public capital formation was greater than private capital formation.” (Sheridan, pg. 72)

That is, the majority of investment spending that built Japan and facilitated economic modernisation came from the government for 17 consecutive years. What did this mean?

When the government dredged harbours and built lighthouses it accommodated coastal shipping and paved the way for the growth in exports. Proof? “Between 1868 and 1893 Japanese raw silk production rose almost fivefold, from 2.3 million pounds to 10.2 million pounds. Most of this was sold overseas. Silk accounted for 42 percent of all Japanese export revenues during this quarter-century.” (Gordon, pg. 95) The expansion of exports financed imports of European technology required for industrialisation.

When the government set up telegraph lines in 1869, and a postal system in 1871, it fostered communication. Institutional infrastructure (stock market, a federal reserve etc.) was also set-up.

Most importantly of all, the government began building a railway network, and encouraged private enterprise to do the same. Railways were vital in facilitating the growth in domestic trade which was responsible for Japan’s economic modernisation. Railways lowered the transportation costs of raw materials, which enabled Japanese producers to lower their prices, and promoted industrial ventures such as textiles.

For instance, rising agricultural productivity of between 1 and 3% annually (Gordon, pg. 95) meant that despite a ten million rise in population, the rural population declined from 1880 to 1900 (Ibid) and caloric consumption per capita increased 1% annually. (Bassino, pg. 503-520) That is, less people fed a larger population and people on average ate more! Food surpluses in agriculture freed up workers to work in other sectors, enabling future growth, and the development of a modern economy not dependent on agriculture. But what caused rising productivity? Productivity growth occurred due to paddy cultivation, which happened because declining transport costs opened larger markets for farmers, allowing economies of scale to develop, and costs to be lower, increasing productivity. (Bassino, pg. 516)

Growth in railways also set off a “private company boom” in the 1880s, which led to the stock market’s creation in Japan. (Gordon, pg. 71). This was vital because it enabled investment to be more easily funnelled into industrial enterprises. These enterprises then provided goods and services in addition to employment, servicing economic development. The government also hired foreign experts to educate the Japanese workforce and set up model industrial enterprises. These played a vital role in spurring economic modernisation.

In short, the government every year 1868-1885 provided the majority of infrastructure development, and this facilitated economic development.

Government Creates a Skilled Workforce

The government also hired foreign experts to educate the Japanese workforce and set up model industrial enterprises. These played a vital role in spurring economic modernisation because they gave lessons to entrepreneurs, and added to private sector knowledge at a time of great hesitance.. In the cotton industry, even though gov. imported the wrong technology, this informed private enterprise on how to succeed. Example 2 - It was not until government officials offered their own daughters to work in the Tomioka mill that many regarded silk-reeling as ‘safe’. (Tipton, pg. 49)

Even when model factories failed, lessons were learnt. The point, as labour relations specialist Gordon stresses, is that the first generation of industrial workers – ‘a small industrial wage labour force’ – had been created. (Gordon, pg. 72) Private enterprise was hesitant to intervene initially; government had to lead the way. (Beckman, pg. 273)

Conclusion

The government was indispensable for uniting, reforming, building and training Japan to facilitate economic development.

I will discuss, if necessary, why other factors are secondary to development in later rounds.

The_Mestari

Con

The_Mestari forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Logic_on_rails

Pro

Con's forfeit disappoints me. I, however, shall not pile on more arguments this round. Let the debate resume next round.
The_Mestari

Con

The_Mestari forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Logic_on_rails

Pro

To my disappointment, Mestari has again forfeited.

My arguments stand unrefuted. I urge a pro vote for arguments and conduct.

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NON DEBATE MATTERS:

1. For those interested in this topic as a debate, please contact me ASAP. I have only a little time to do a debate before university begins.

2. Thise interested in learning about the Meiji Period should contact me for my recommended reading resources.
The_Mestari

Con

The_Mestari forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
I would be willing to vote on this when it enters the voting period. Just remind me...
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
mestari FF'd my debate too. Hopefully he comes back
Posted by Logic_on_rails 2 years ago
Logic_on_rails
Mestari, I'll try and send you a debate challenge tomorrow (got a picnic this evening). I look forward to a good fight. Knowing you, this may be interesting. BTW, I can give you access to a lot of those resources if you want.
Posted by The_Mestari 2 years ago
The_Mestari
I would take this debate as-is on the con side.
Posted by Logic_on_rails 2 years ago
Logic_on_rails
Darth Vitious, are you saying you would be prepared to take the 'Pro' in this debate? Do you support the 1868-1885 timeframe for the debate? (NB: That does NOT preclude arguing about it being the Tokugawa developments which set in motion economic development!) If so, would you - as pro - wish to go first in the debate? If so, start a new debate. The only thing I wish to tweak before we begin is just to make a clear statement to voters of exactly what the resolution entails. Eg. "If Pro proves that the substantial economic development of the Meiji era would not have occurred without the Meiji government's leadership, he wins. If Con casts doubt on this claim, or shows other factors to, instead, be indispensable / more important, he wins." I'll update the debate with this amendment to show you what I mean.

TUF, I haven't 'been around'. This is my first post / debate on this website in about a year.
Posted by DarthVitiosus 2 years ago
DarthVitiosus
I really want to accept this debate. But I not permitted to accept since I would be Con.
Posted by TUF 2 years ago
TUF
I had no clue you were still around.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
Logic_on_railsThe_MestariTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
Logic_on_railsThe_MestariTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Paleophyte 2 years ago
Paleophyte
Logic_on_railsThe_MestariTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeits