Journal Article

The global construction of development models: the US, Japan and the East Asian miracle

Rie Taniguchi and Sarah Babb

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 7, issue 2, pages 277-303
Published in print April 2009 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwp003
The global construction of development models: the US, Japan and the East Asian miracle

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During the heyday of the ‘Washington Consensus’ in the 1980s and 1990s, the Japanese government became an increasingly vocal critic of its market-liberalizing prescriptions. Drawing on documents produced by the Japanese development bureaucracy, this paper analyses the origins of the Washington–Tokyo controversy, and suggests that it provides new insights into the nature of models of economic development. Such models are based on post hoc social constructs—interpretations of past events forged in part by development experts, but also by states, which can play a major role in selecting, interpreting and packaging development facts. Washington's ‘Anglo-Saxon’ model and Tokyo's ‘East Asian’ model were based on distinct interpretations of development facts, but were not as far apart as they seemed on the surface. We conclude that although development models may draw on local materials, they are also very much global products, constructed in the context of transnational networks and organizational fields.

Keywords: bureaucracy; capitalism; varieties of; economic development institutions; Japan; neo-liberalism; O19 international linkages to development, role of international organizations; F59 international relations and international political economy; O21 planning models, planning policy

Journal Article.  10413 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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