This paper seeks to explain why Japan has attained a higher level of social order than comparably developed western national societies. To do so, it distinguishes the attainment of local order in social groups from the global order in national societies. Recent models of spontaneous, self-organizing order are insufficient to account for global order. In contrast to the more popular normative explanation of order in Japan, which holds that a consensus on fundamental values derived from Confucian roots is an essential cause, this paper proposes a solidaristic theory built on rational choice premises.
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