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Japan-Bashing vs. China-Bashing (1980s/90s vs. today)

Economically, does Chinese competition today threaten us more than Japan 30 years ago?

  • Neither Japanese or Chinese competition was/is a threat.

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • Japanese competition was a greater threat than China today.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Chinese competition today is a greater threat than Japan was.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Competition from both these Asian menaces equally is/was a threat to our economy.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1

Lumpenproletariat

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---- "Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts."
In the 1980s & 90s Japan was the boogie-man who was a threat to America's economy. There were outcries about Japan buying up American property and companies, in addition to "stealing our jobs" and threatening us with their products that were more competitive than ours, and U.S. autoworkers held rallies in which they sledge-hammered Japanese cars to express their hate. I think it was in the 90s that this paranoia died down and the "Chinese Problem" emerged to take Japan's place.

Also, both Japan and China were/are accused of cheating or not "playing fair" in the competition. In both cases the "trade deficit" is cited as proof that the trade was harmful to the U.S. economy. And yet no one has ever proved that a "trade deficit" does harm to the economy. The "favorable balance of trade" doctrine is taken as a premise which is never questioned, and as proof that imports cannot be allowed to exceed exports, whatever artificial measures must be done to bring them into balance.

Are Japan- and China-bashing essentially the same phenomenon, with one scapegoat being replaced by another? Or is there a basic difference between them, such that one was/is a legitimate economic threat, even if not both?

I think the only difference is:

China is bigger than Japan was, but in both cases the foreign competition is good for the U.S. economy, not anything detrimental; and

China is a military threat in Asia, compared to Japan. Only in an actual shooting war could this lead to some need for economic barriers, like sanctions (and even in war, sanctions might do more harm than good). More trade generally leads to reduction of the risk of war. (You can give exceptions to this rule, but this is the rule generally.); and

China has a higher degree of "slave labor" than Japan had. But this is probably due to China's much larger and more diverse heterogeneous population (1.4 billion), making it more difficult for a government to incentivize its population to cooperate with the national policies. In the 19th century European countries continued normal trade with the U.S. during the slavery period, and did not impose economic sanctions on the U.S. (e.g. sanctions against slave-made products), and it's good that they did not, because it would only have made everyone worse off, including the slaves. And in today's China the damage to innocent people (including their "slaves"), from sanctions, would be horrendous, with no offsetting benefit.

Other than the above, there's no essential difference, and neither Japan or China was/is an economic threat. More competition is always better, including increased competition with other nations.
 
Last edited:

Jimmy Higgins

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Calvinistic Atheist
In the 1980s & 90s Japan was the boogie-man who was a threat to America's economy. There were outcries about Japan buying up American property and companies, in addition to "stealing our jobs" and threatening us with their products that were more competitive than ours, and U.S. autoworkers held rallies in which they sledge-hammered Japanese cars to express their hate. I think it was in the 90s that this paranoia died down and the "Chinese Problem" emerged to take Japan's place.
China wasn't an issue in the American psyche until a decade or two ago. The 90s still had anti-Japan sentiments in America as they were buying up all of America*.

* Europe owns much more of US back then than Japan ever would manage to.
Also, both Japan and China were/are accused of cheating or not "playing fair" in the competition. In both cases the "trade deficit" is cited as proof that the trade was harmful to the U.S. economy. And yet no one has ever proved that a "trade deficit" does harm to the economy. The "favorable balance of trade" doctrine is taken as a premise which is never questioned, and as proof that imports cannot be allowed to exceed exports, whatever artificial measures must be done to bring them into balance.

Are Japan- and China-bashing essentially the same phenomenon, with one scapegoat being replaced by another? Or is there a basic difference between them, such that one was/is a legitimate economic threat, even if not both?
I think the only difference is:

China is bigger than Japan was, but in both cases the foreign competition is good for the U.S. economy, not anything detrimental; and

China is a military threat in Asia, compared to Japan. Only in an actual shooting war could this lead to some need for economic barriers, like sanctions (and even in war, sanctions might do more harm than good). More trade generally leads to reduction of the risk of war. (You can give exceptions to this rule, but this is the rule generally.); and

China has a higher degree of "slave labor" than Japan had. But this is probably due to China's much larger and more diverse heterogeneous population (1.4 billion), making it more difficult for a government to incentivize its population to cooperate with the national policies. In the 19th century European countries continued normal trade with the U.S. during the slavery period, and did not impose economic sanctions on the U.S. (e.g. sanctions against slave-made products), and it's good that they did not, because it would only have made everyone worse off, including the slaves. And in today's China the damage to innocent people (including their "slaves"), from sanctions, would be horrendous, with no offsetting benefit.

Other than the above, there's no essential difference, and neither Japan or China was/is an economic threat. More competition is always better, including increased competition with other nations.
So other than military influence, human rights violations, economic manipulations, corporate theft... the two are just the same thing.

The fear of Japan was they were doing things better, their perceived cultural differences, and racism.

The fear of China has so many different sources, but one of them is racism too. China doesn't design things better than the West, that is for certain and they need to steal other peoples ideas in order to create things. But China is great at production... until it gets much more expensive than in Vietnam and Malaysia. China isn't an economic threat as our demand is what drives their economy.

Japan required America get good at things again. Japan was never really a threat. England sources owned a ton more US stuff than Japan ever did and the thought Japan would take over was hyperbole and silliness and racism.
 
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