State Competence and Economic Growth in Japan

State Competence and Economic Growth in Japan

State Competence and Economic Growth in Japan

State Competence and Economic Growth in Japan

Excerpt

The legislature, were it possible that its deliberations could be always directed, not by the clamorous importunity of partial interest but by an extensive view of the general good, ought upon this very account, perhaps, to be particularly careful neither to establish any new monopolies of this kind, nor to extend further those which are already established. Every such regulation introduces some degree of real disorder into the constitution of the state, which it will be difficult afterwards to cure without occasioning another disorder.

To expect, indeed, that freedom of trade should ever be entirely restored in Great Britain, is as absurd as to expect that an Oceana or Utopia should ever be established in it. Not only the prejudices of the public, but what is much more unconquerable, the private interests of many individuals, irresistibly oppose it…. The member of parliament who supports every proposal for strengthening this monopoly, is sure to acquire not only the reputation of understanding trade, but great popularity and influence with an order of men whose numbers and wealth render them of great importance. If he opposes them, on the contrary, and still more if he has authority enough to be able to thwart them, neither the most acknowledged probity, nor the highest rank, nor the greatest public services, can protect him from the most infamous abuse and detection, from personal insults, nor sometimes from real danger, arising from the insolent outrage of furious and disappointed monopolists.

(Adam Smith 1776: pp. 437-8)

This statement, with which Adam Smith expressed his view of the state more than 200 years ago, has stronger public support in contemporary Japan than in Smith's time. In modern Japan, 'administrative reform and deregulation' have become the slogans of the day. The same is true of many other economies as well. Across the globe, voters in democratic economies stand united in their hope for a less regulated world.

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