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Financial Stabilization in Meiji JapanThe Impact of the Matsukata Reform$
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Steven J. Ericson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501746918

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501746918.001.0001

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Departures from Orthodoxy

Departures from Orthodoxy

(p.1) Introduction Departures from Orthodoxy
Financial Stabilization in Meiji Japan

Steven J. Ericson

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter briefly considers the ways in which the reforms of Finance Minister Matsukata Masayoshi unfolded along the lines of mid-nineteenth-century British-style orthodoxy or the late-twentieth-century International Monetary Fund version. It then goes on to argue that Matsukata was dealing with the challenge, shared by many of his contemporaries, of establishing a modern financial system in a developing state emerging from warfare and aiming to industrialize. At least on monetary policy, his economic nationalism was of the liberal nationalist variety like that of state leaders in other late industrializers. Moreover, Matsukata emerged as a practitioner primarily of unorthodox policies from the standpoint of both nineteenth- and late-twentieth-century versions of financial and economic orthodoxy. He also departed from orthodox mindsets in his pursuit of statist and nationalist priorities, his commitment to made-in-Japan solutions, his reliance on local intellectual tradition, and his willingness to be flexible in response to “the dictates of practical expediency,” as he would proclaim in 1886.

Keywords:   Matsukata Masayoshi, British economic orthodoxy, International Monetary Fund, modern financial system, financial reforms, liberal nationalism, unorthodox policies, financial orthodoxy, economic orthodoxy

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