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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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Orthodox Finance and “the Dictates of Practical Expediency”

Orthodox Finance and “the Dictates of Practical Expediency”

Influences on Matsukata

(p.28) 2 Orthodox Finance and “the Dictates of Practical Expediency”
(p.iii) Financial Stabilization in Meiji Japan

Steven J. Ericson

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the experiences and ideas that influenced Matsukata both in his commitment to aspects of mid-nineteenth-century British economic orthodoxy and in his predilection for unorthodox policies on certain issues. A widely held view is that, as finance czar, Matsukata rigidly applied the theories of orthodox finance he had learned from French economists during the nine-month trip he took to Europe in 1878. Some historians likewise claim that French scholarship and example provided the overall pattern for the Matsukata reforms of the 1880s. For the most part, however, French tutelage simply reinforced ideas that Matsukata had been developing since the Restoration, drawing on both Sino-Japanese and Western sources, ideas that he would go on to implement pragmatically after 1881. Matsukata and his brain trust had no single model for financial reform; rather, they participated in a global circulation of ideas and practices regarding public finance, including currents not only of Franco-British liberalism but also of German and U.S. economic nationalism.

Keywords:   orthodox finance, British economic orthodoxy, French economists, public finance, Franco-British liberalism, German economic nationalism, U.S. economic nationalism

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