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Japan's and Germany's Industrial Revolutions



Industrialization began in Japan as part of the modernization programme that began with the Meiji restoration in 1868. Japan's industrialization arose as a reaction to Western dominance (In 1853 commodore Peine of the USA dictated terms with Japan). Japan's capitalist class was weak, and it was hesitant to invest in large and heavy industries. As a result, the Japanese government took the initiative to invest in industries, and once these industries were operational, they were sold to private capitalists at a subsidy rate.


The Japanese government imported Western machines and invited Western experts to assist in the industrialization process. Reverse engineering was also a key component of Japanese industrialization. It allowed Japan to begin where Europe had left off.


Quality consciousness was not a feature of Japanese industrialization. It is more concerned with increasing output. Following WWII, quality consciousness became a feature of Japan's industrialization. Collaboration between banking capital and industrial capital was also significant.


The influence of a few industrial families, such as the Zaibatsu (a group of 20 industrial families) who own approximately one-third of Japan's industrial capital, was also a notable factor of the revolution.


The revolution did not usher in conflict between the middle class and the monarchy, or between the middle class and the aristocracy. Another major characteristic of the revolution was the absence of working-class exploitation. Japan's revolution was swift, and by 1900, the country had emerged as a modern industrialized country.




In the first half of the nineteenth century, Germany lagged behind Britain in the process of industrial development, and there were numerous impediments to industrialization.


Germany was divided into numerous small states. Paternalistic laws were prevalent in some German regions, restricting individuals' movement from one state to another. Serfs were still in use in some parts of Germany until the early nineteenth century. Unlike in the United Kingdom, the German region lacked private capital. Due to continuous wars, particularly sectarian wars, a large portion of the German population was lost.


Prussia was one of the largest and most powerful German states, and it was the first to initiate the industrialization process. Napoleon Bonaparte established a German state in the form of the Rhine Confederation. This contributed to the German state's unity. Napoleon's continental system boosted German manufactured goods, particularly in continental Europe. In 1834, Prussia took the initiative to economically unite German states by establishing the Zollverein.


The construction of railways in 1840 marked the beginning of economic development. By the mid-nineteenth century, most paternalistic laws had been repealed, allowing people to migrate from one region to another. Joint stock banks played a significant role in providing capital for industrialization in Germany. By 1960, Germany had become Europe's largest economy, a factor that influenced the rest of the world.

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