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Social Evolution, Economic Development and Culture

Social Evolution, Economic Development and Culture

What it Means to Take Japan Seriously

Ronald Dore and D. Hugh Whittaker

Social Evolution, Economic Development and Culture brings together Ronald Dore’s key writings for the first time, making his work accessible across a wide range of social science disciplines. It produces a distinctive perspective with four interlinking themes – technology-driven social evolution, late development, culture and polemics. These are highly topical in the current context of rapid technological innovation and socio-economic change, globalization and accompanying policy choices.

Chapter 21: White papers*

Ronald Dore and D. Hugh Whittaker

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian economics, development studies, asian development, economics and finance, asian economics, evolutionary economics


Can there be another country with so many annual government white papers? I can claim some minor responsibility. In a lifetime of writing agitated ‘letters to the editor’ and advocacy articles, the only evidence I have of ever having had the least scintilla of influence on any government’s behaviour was when a manifesto drafted with some Japanese friends on the then chaotic nature of Japanese government publications got to the Ishibashi cabinet in 1956 and led to the setting up of the present government publications system. We offered as a model the British Stationery Office on whose exemplary finances at the time I did some research. Now, of course, the British Stationery Office is cruelly privatized and unfriendly to all but money-spinning users, while its Japanese equivalent, with its 72 branch shops all over Japan, goes from strength to strength. * From Preface to new edition of City Life in Japan, Curzon Press, 1999, p. xiii, à propos the Japanese White Paper on the Nation’s Livelihood (Kokumin seikatsu hakusho). 235

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