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The Dissemination of Economic Ideas

The Dissemination of Economic Ideas

Edited by Heinz D. Kurz, Tamotsu Nishizawa and Keith Tribe

This highly illuminating book marks a significant stage in our growing understanding of how the development of national traditions of economic thought has been affected by both internal and external factors.

Chapter 11: The Background of K. Akamatsu’s Gankou Keitai Ron and its Development: Early Empirical Analysis at Nagoya

Tadashi Ohtsuki

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, history of economic thought


Tadashi Ohtsuki 11.1 INTRODUCTION During his time at Nagoya from 1921 to 1939, Kaname Akamatsu (1896–1974) developed a theory of economic growth which was called Gankou Keitai Ron, a reference to a skein of geese, which image was more formally translated by M. Shinohara (1919–) as the ‘Wild-Geese-Flying’ (WGF) pattern theory or ‘flying-geese’ pattern theory, the name under which Akamatsu’s work become known to non-Japanese economists (Ikeo, 2008, 199).1 Akamatsu’s theory was also examined in relation to the ‘product cycle’ theory by Vernon (1966), and has been quoted or further developed internationally by many scholars such as Zimmerman (1964, 96–7), Suehiro (2000, 42–4, 48) and Ozawa (2005).2 Kiyoshi Kojima (1920–), who is Akamatsu’s pupil, should also be mentioned for his presentation of a more detailed theory elaborated on the basis of Akamatsu’s original version.3 In addition to these studies, the recent publication of Ikeo (2008) is the first biography of Akamatsu. However, Ikeo does not fully examine the development of WGF pattern theory or the theory of differentiation and uniformization of international economic structure from the viewpoint of wars and long wave theory. The context of WGF pattern theory has not been sufficiently studied; its background is described in Akamatsu’s autobiography: ‘through the empirical analysis of the spinning and woollen industries I grasped the WildGeese-Flying pattern of industrial development’ (Akamatsu, 1975, 37). The development of economics beyond the imperial universities, including some higher commercial schools such as Tokyo Higher Commercial School (HCS) (now Hitotsubashi University)...

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