Chapter

Consumption and the Democratic Household

Laura Hein

in Reasonable Men, Powerful Words

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780520243477
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931572 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520243477.003.0007
Consumption and the Democratic Household

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Consumption provided the battleground for yet another economic debate in post-war Japan. The fundamental assumption of the new Keynesian high-wage economic strategy was that people would spend large portions of their wages, enriching not only themselves but also their communities. Ōuchi Hyōe and his fellow economists had advocated adoption of this new global orthodoxy as early as the 1946 Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposal for the post-war economy. Encouragement of mass consumption through full employment finally became an official economic policy with Prime Minister Ikeda Hayato's income doubling plan of 1960. Ikeda's massive tax cut also was designed to encourage spending, although Ōuchi would have preferred to channel those funds into social welfare programs so that the resultant spending would help to redistribute income. “Moral suasion” campaigns to encourage savings and thrift for the sake of the nation remained an important policy effort in post-war Japan, although the funds saved were now earmarked for industrial development rather than war. The economists offered women civic inclusion through their role as chatelaine of the household.

Keywords: Japan; consumption; Ōuchi Hyōe; women; household; employment; spending; savings; wages; economic policy

Chapter.  8193 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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