Search Results for ‘45’

Japan – Major Source of Conceptual Shocks

Paper prepared for What Is To Be Done?Conference, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 3-5th February 2000 Assumptions held by Western economists, policy makers, and commentators about the nature of the world’s second largest industrial power are so much at variance with observable reality there, that they ought to disturb our peace of mind. The realization that the discrepancy results from conceptual filters with which reality is normally apprehended, ought to have far-reaching consequences for those ready to rethink what is to be done about the world’s international economic order. CREDIT ORDERING A quick look at Japan’s commercial banks affords an immediate glimpse of routine misinterpretation. In the eyes of Western governments and businessmen these are profit seeking institutions, operating in a private realm under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance (MOF). This would lead one to expect that they are regulated under civil law. But civil law and the commercial code do not at all control the activities of Japanese banks. Administrative law does, and in Japan this is entirely a tool in the hands of ministry bureaucrats. The Banking Law has a mere 66 clauses, leaving the operational details for the banks to be settled by the ministry...

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(41) – Down with ‘Western Values’ (30 Nov 2012)

While China remains the great potential adversary in the eyes of a Washington that says it is pivoting toward East Asia as it considers policies for healthy international relations, and while West Asia continues to be wracked by strife, you may expect world news to be littered with references to ‘Western values’ as a legitimizing excuse for all manner of initiatives and interference. The term should be thrown out of political analysis and discussion. Its absence will improve political hygiene for the entire world. As a source of confusion, hostility and even hatred, its use is by itself a harmful complication. It is used for priming the emotions with easy indignation. And in daily usage it means almost nothing. ‘Values’ in its current common usage, has always been something vague. It was popularized by sociologists in the middle of the twentieth century, who needed a standard unit of account as they believed they were introducing scientific method to what they were doing. It simplified a huge complexity. The ‘values’ concept is a repository for all manner of things – principles, beliefs, likes, dislikes, prejudice, sentiments, distaste, hobbies, morals, ethics, and more – that may direct our conduct....

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The End of American Hegemony

This article is part of the “Turning Points 2003” year-end package from The New York Times Syndicate. c.2003 Karel Van Wolferen (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.) Amid the appearance of a resurgent, newly aggressive America, the really significant international development of 2003 was the destruction of the conditions that until now had made American hegemony possible. The almost universally accepted dominance of the United States had been the pivot of a relatively stable and peaceful world order, but that order now stands on the verge of disintegration. Hegemony implies consent on the part of weaker powers, which enables the dominant power to avoid overt coercion _ the mark of imperialism, from which it must clearly be differentiated. It reveals itself in the dominant country’s influence over other countries’ world views, particularly in regard to international political and economic relations. While the United States has often been accused of arrogance and has not always been accepted as a model of good governance, generally American hegemony enjoyed a global welcome. The United States was understood to constitute the world’s primary force for order, an order initiated in the cauldron of World War II, built in the shadow of...

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