Japan in the Free World Economy: A Statement on National Policy by the Research and Policy Committee of the Committee for Economic Development

By Keizai Doyukai; United Nations Environment Programme | Go to book overview

2. THE PRINCIPLES
of the FREE
WORLD ECONOMY

It is a basic proposition of this Statement that the economic relations between Japan and the rest of the world should not be an exception to the general principles of the free world economy.

In the following section we shall consider certain aspects of the Japanese economy and society that might make her "special" and indicate our reasons for believing that she is not an exception. But first we should state briefly what we conceive the general principles of the free world economy to be.

These principles will not be found completely codified in any international treaty, although they are reflected in such documents as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund. Rather the principles exist as a kind of implicit understanding, whose pervasiveness is evidenced by the tendency for debate to center on the identification of exceptions rather than on the validity of the principles themselves.

A fundamental idea of the free world economy is that both parties to the voluntary exchange of goods, services and capital normally gain from the exchange, and that the gains will be the larger the freer the exchange is of restrictions. This idea in turn rests upon another, which is that each party is a good judge of his own interest and neither will voluntarily take part in an exchange unless he expects to gain from it.

The proposition that both parties to voluntary exchange gain

-16-

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