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Value and Crisis: Essays on Marxian Economics in Japan, second edition

Marxist economic thought has had a long and distinguished history in Japan, dating back to the First World War. When interest in Marxist theory was virtually nonexistent in the United States, rival schools of thought in Japan emerged, and brilliant debates took place on Marx’s Capital and on capitalism as it was developing in Japan. Forty years ago, Makoto Itoh’s Value and Crisis began to chronicle these Japanese contributions to Marxist theory, discussing in particular views on Marx’s theories of value and crisis, and problems of Marx’s theory of market value. Now, in a second edition of his book, Itoh deepens his study of Marx’s theories of value and crisis, as an essential reference point from which to analyze the multiple crises that have arisen during the past four decades of neoliberalism. The promise of Marx’s theories has not waned. If anything—given the failure of Soviet-style socialism and the catastrophe of neoliberalism—it grows daily. | more…

The Japanese Economy in Structural Difficulties

According to The Annual Economic Fiscal Report (July 2004) prepared by the Ministry of Economic and Fiscal Policy, the Japanese economy is recovering from the prolonged stagnation that began with the bursting of the financial bubble in 1990-91. This recovery started at the beginning of 2002. It is characterized by the restored increase of both profitability and spending on plant and equipment in the private business sector and an increase in demand from abroad, while public spending (like public works) has been rather held down. In the fiscal year 2003 (up through March 2004) for instance, the Japanese real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was said to have grown by 3.2 percent. Contributions to this growth rate came from the growth of domestic demand in the private sector (2.9 percent) and the growth of foreign demand (0.8 percent), offset by a mild decline in government spending (minus 0.6 percent). The annualized rate of GDP growth in the quarter January-March 2004 was said to have reached 5.6 percent and especially encouraged the official expectation of a strong economic recovery | more…

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