The ‘Flying-Geese’ Theory of Multinational Corporations and Structural Transformation
New Horizons in International Business series
Chapter 2: The classical origins of Akamatsu’s ideas: a missing link to David Hume’s ‘flying-manufacturers’ theory
This chapter examines some important classical origins of Akamatsu’s ideas. While studying in Germany in 1924_26, Akamatsu was strongly influenced by a variety of the stages theories of development expounded by the German Historical School. As he himself acknowledged, ‘his’ idea of the infant-industry protection-driven, three-step sequence of import, domestic production, and export was directly borrowed from Friedrich List’s (1885/1966) book, The National System of Political Economy. However, why did Akamatsu fail to notice what may be called the ‘flying-manufacturers’ theory advanced by David Hume (1754/1985), a theory that no doubt adumbrated Akamatsu’s ‘flying-geese’ theory? This is probably because the German Historical School that stressed inductive reasoning and empiricism was at loggerheads with the British Classical School that by sharp contrast pursued deductive reasoning in search of universal abstract theories. Consequently, Akamatsu must have been blindsided by the German Historical School, missing a chance to read Hume’s writings. References: Hume, David (1754/1985), Essays: Moral, Political and Literary, ed. Eugene Miller, Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund. List, Friedrich (1885/1966), The National System of Political Economy, New York: Augustus M. Kelly Publishers.
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