By Janet R. Goodwin
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Additional info for Alms and Vagabonds: Buddhist temples and popular patronage in medieval Japan
The labor market in this country is characterized by hiring and firing and a high rate of job switching by employees. Income and wealth differentials are large. A whole class of rich capitalist families lives off their dividend income. The overall savings rate is low and consumption constitutes the biggest part of GDP-about 80 percent. There are few government regulations, and government officials exert little direct influence over the economy. Indeed, bureaucrats have to do as politicians tell them.
The resulting bank-centered business groups were identical to the prewar conglomerates, only they were now controlled by managers, not the capitalist shareholders. And in this managerial capitalism it was only the banks and ultimately the bureaucrats who had the say and could allocate resources as they saw fit. S. occupation also helped the wartime bureaucrats in implementing another one of their key goals. During the war, they had made attempts at sweeping land reforms. Politically unable to expropriate the large-scale owners during the war, the bureaucrats had instead opted for rendering them de facto irrelevant, just like the shareholders.
How could the wartime planners so quickly design such a consistent and efficient system? They had gained invaluable experience in implementing and running this system when they were experimenting with its prototype in Manchuria, which had been under direct army rule since 1931. The same bureaucrats then moved back to Japan to implement it there. S. occupation and the postwar reforms all about? General MacArthur's Occupation Administration was given orders to democratize, deconcentrate, demilitarize, and liberalize Japan.