Chapter 9: Political leadership under the global neoliberal order
Like many other states, contemporary Japan is faced with a globalizing economy – that is, an increasing density of global networks based on market-consistent practices. Globalization ensues under a neoliberal order that facilitates unrestricted cross-border economic transactions. Under these circumstances, states’ roles are converging to the improvement of market efficiency and economic competitiveness through the adoption of global rules and standards. As noted in the Introduction, globalization has generated two interrelated controversies. One controversy hinges on political command and bureaucratic delegation. The political command hypothesis believes that globalization necessitates coordinated political responses to powerful market forces, while the bureaucratic delegation hypothesis stresses the importance of bureaucratic expertise in adapting to global rules and standards. Another controversy involves globalists and comparative institutionalists. The globalists embrace a trickle-down effect of neoliberal reform on social well-being that is defined as majoritarian-consumerist interest. In contrast, comparative institutionalists stress a distributive effect of reform and incremental institutional reform derived from policy inertia and contentious consensus formation among domestic sectoral interests.
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