A Japanese Perspective of the Transformation of Modern Civilizations

  • Haruo Naniwada
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 5)


The postwar era has seen the emergence of the mixed economy. Capitalism (liberalism) has been socialized and socialism has been liberalized. Yet, both camps find this phenomenon hard to accept. Unduly influenced by rationalism, the prevailing orthodoxy of the modern age, they possess a perverse perspective of the world. Rationalists believe their natural environment to be composed of autonomous entities, wholly separate and distinct from one another. They want reality to conform to the dichotomy of their theoretical universe. However, the real world is composed not of simple black and white, but numerous shades of gray. Therefore, undiluted absolutes exist only in theory. All real economies mix capitalism with socialism, liberty with justice. This is the principle of allelonomy. It seeks to displace rationalism and the associated principle of autonomy. Produced by the Enlightenment, rationalism is at the core of modern Western civilization. Harnessing the wonders of modern science, technology, industry, and economy, the West overwhelmed Eastern civilization. In response, Japan transformed itself into a modern, rationalist nation. Like their Western counterparts, the Japanese created an economy with an incessant appetite for “more and more” development. Yet, in order to produce more, they had to replace previously manufactured goods -- a policy known as “institutionalized wasteful consumption.” Japan has become saturated. In order to change course, Japan must focus upon producing more quality rather than more quantity. At the same time, it must transform itself from a society based upon autonomy to a culture based upon allelonomy.


Social Justice Individual Freedom Modern Civilization Japanese Economy Social Market Economy 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

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  • Haruo Naniwada

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