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Distinguished East Asia Lecture by T.J. Pempel - "Dismantling Japanese Developmentalism"

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 12:00pm

Silverman Hall 240A

TJ Pempel

Japan’s combination of economic success and conservative dominance from the 1950s into the early 1990s was the consequence of what Pempel calls “developmentalism.” The term involves more than the well-studied ‘developmental state.’ Most particularly, the Japanese success story relied on a specific and historically unusual socio-economic alignment; a positive sum relationship between state direction and corporate creativity; and Japan’s Cold War security and economic partnership with the United States. The combination unleashed a positive cycle of economic development and conservative political strength.

Japan’s positive cycle was challenged by two external changes: first, the breakdown in diplomatic and security bipolarity that began with the Nixon visits to China and the Deng economic reforms; and second, the challenges from increased power of global finance and multinational production networks. These external global shifts undercut the Japan’s prevailing model and opened the challenge to find a suitable substitute. That search has continued for over twenty years resulting in some successes and many false starts. Professor Pempel’s talk will examine the relationship between this more complete understanding of developmentalism as the roots of Japan’s early successes and the subsequent difficulties of finding its adequate replacement.


T. J. Pempel is the Jack M. Forcey Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been on the Berkeley faculty since 2001. He has also held positions at Cornell University, the University of Colorado, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington. From 2001 until 2006 he was the director of Berkeley’s Institute of East Asian Studies. He is a presidential appointee to the Japan U.S. Friendship Commission. His research focuses on comparative politics, Japanese political economy, and Asian regional issues. He has published over 120 articles and 24 books. Recent books include Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia (Routledge, 2012); The Economic-Security Nexus in Northeast Asia (Routledge, 2013), and Japan in Crisis (ASAN, 2013) and, in 2015, a co-edited volume with Keiichi Tsunekawa entitled Two Crises; Different Reactions: East Asia and Global Finance (Cornell UP) This last examines why Asia was so badly devastated by the crisis of 1997-98 but in 2008-2009 did so well compared to Europe and the U.S.


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