It is also an invaluable text for students at the introductory as well as upper levels in ethics, Asian studies, philosophy, religion, and humanities. Lexington Books. Striking a Balance is an unusual, well-written introduction to Asian Thought. In addition to clear, lucid explication of primary concepts, Professor Brannigan provides insightful and philosophically sensitive retelling of a host of stories drawn from classical sources in Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen, Taoism and Confucianism. In the process he invites the reader to explore the ethical values woven into these traditions, to get to know the people whose lives have been shaped by those values, and to reflect on a range of similarities as well as differences between Eastern and Western cultures.
Haney ; CHOICE , June Increasingly, Americans are asking whether daunting social problems, from failing schools to violent crime, might be rooted in faulty ethical values—values that place an exaggerated emphasis on individual self-assertion over the goods of family and community.
In this readable, deeply informed book, Brannigan explores a variety of non-Western ethical traditions that strike a healthier balance between individual and communal goods. Table of Contents. In during the early months of the U. Although the Americans provided emergency food relief, U. While the American model of mass consumption struck both the occupiers and occupied as inappropriate, Japanese officials voraciously studied contemporary European programs that promoted saving and restrained consumption.
Japan was hardly alone, they observed, in adopting austerity measures to recover from the war. Nearly all the former belligerents were doing so, noted Finance Minister Yano in Throughout the s and early s, Japanese officials regularly reported on vibrant savings campaigns in Western Europe. The British people Why must the victorious British maintain harsh lives of austerity?
The answer, without a doubt, is that the money and material saved by lives of austerity can be applied, in full, to economic recovery In the near future, free trade will be re-established in the world. Like the Japanese, the British strove to revive exports by boosting savings while severely constraining domestic consumption. And like the British government, the postwar Japanese state maintained many of the wartime policies that encouraged saving.
Striking a Balance
As before, officials announced an annual savings target and allocated targets to each prefecture. The postwar campaigns continued to rely on the national savings associations, though phrased in the oxymorons of the New Japan. Results were nonetheless mixed. In one survey taken in September , more than half of the respondents replied they were unable to put anything aside. Even the Ministry of Finance acknowledged that the campaigns failed to enlist the cooperation of many citizens below the middle classes.
By other measures, however, the National Salvation campaigns were a success. Increases in total deposits in fiscal and the first half of ran at roughly four times what they had been during the first five months of the campaign. Japanese managed to increase savings at a time when most were still struggling to make ends meet. In the government announced an end to the freeze on deposits enabling funds to be freely withdrawn. The authorities moreover introduced or reintroduced incentives to encourage saving. Interest rates rose steadily—for example, to 4.
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Tax exemption on interest was granted not only to those who made regular contractual deposits through the national savings associations, but also to all postal savings depositors. To boost savings, officials went so far as to encourage tax evasion. The saver was permitted to open time fixed-term de- posits without registering his or her true name. This practice effectively exempted all time deposits from taxation. Time deposits became wildly popular over the course of the National Salvation Campaigns, accounting for the greatest number of new accounts.
Concerned about widespread tax evasion, the Shoup report recommended abolition of unregistered de- posits. Savings-promotion officials look back upon this period as their darkest hour. The Allies agreed to terminate the occupation on April 1 of the following year. No sooner had Japan signed the treaty than economic bureaucrats busily prepared to overturn what remained of the American restrictions on centralized savings promotion.
New posters resurrected the nationalist symbols of the prewar savings campaigns. Fuji in films and other media. Fuji re- appeared in postal savings posters. Another previously taboo symbol, the rising-sun flag, resurfaced in Central Council posters over the next half-decade. Japanese were now exhorted to save to build an economically prosperous nation, not a militarized great power. But as before, they were to do so for the sake of the nation. The Central Council for Savings Promotion plunged into the work of encouraging people to save more.
Reversing U. With great fanfare the state completely eliminated taxation of interest on savings deposits from to In new legislation permanently exempted interest on small savings accounts of any type. Fuji, featured in prewar and wartime propaganda, returns in this postal savings poster as the symbol of national purpose, now focused on peace and prosperity. Council members represented financial institutions, business associations, media, the academic community, popular organizations, and state agencies. Nonetheless, Bank of Japan officials have performed all day-to-day operations to the present.
The civil servants coordinated a vast network of prefectural savings-promotion committees, banks, local governments, schools, and national and grassroots groups. Armed with substantial media budgets, they churned out posters and banners while securing the cooperation of newspapers, magazines, and radio stations. By the mids most Japanese families owned a television set. Although officials emphasized the benefits of saving to families, strident appeals to economic nationalism persisted long after Japan regained political independence in Not until the latter half of the s would Japan enjoy sustained international trade surpluses.
As late as , when U. At their highpoint in the s, more than thirty thousand schools and eight million schoolchildren participated. Postal savings loomed even larger in postwar savings promotion than before As a share of household deposits, postal savings rose steadily in the postwar era peaking at 34 percent in Whereas commercial banks possessed relatively few branches concentrated in urban areas, more than fifteen thousand post offices offered depository services throughout the country in the s. Some twenty-four thousand do so today.
Postal savings officials went from innovation to innovation in the quest to lure customers from the banks. Improving on prewar practices, they inaugurated a highly popular service whereby postmen collected savings. Most commercial banks could not compete, unwilling to incur the interest-rate risk inherent in teigaku deposits.
Postal savings thus enjoyed a significant interest-rate advantage over the banks. The post office further encouraged saving by selling life insurance on very favorable terms to policyholders, waiving for instance the requirement of thorough medical examinations.
Postal life insurance grew to account for 30 percent of all life insurance by One was safety. All postal deposits remained government guaranteed, whereas small savings accounts in other financial institutions received no such protection until the introduction of the Deposit Insurance Corporation in The security of postal savings persisted in the public imagination, particularly at times of financial volatility.
Second, postal savings received preferential tax treatment. Although interest on all small savings accounts became tax exempt from to , postal depositors benefited disproportionately. Few paid taxes, no matter how large their savings. That was because postal employees systematically encouraged customers to open multiple accounts at different post offices—each up to the tax-exempt limit.
The postal savings system operated more like a well-oiled political machine than a financial institution. Clerks tenaciously urged customers to open accounts, receiving bonuses for each new account. This was another repudiation of the U. The postal savings lobby rallied the public itself. The Japanese state as a whole retained a direct stake in boosting postal savings because of its importance to public finance.
Despite U. Along with postal life insurance funds, the Trust Fund monies in turn flowed into the new Fiscal Investment and Loan Plan established in As postal savings soared, the bureaucracy found itself with ever- increasing amounts of capital that it invested without parliamentary approval. Postal saving thus acquired enormous legitimacy in postwar Japan. Japanese household saving rates took off after , cresting to 23 percent in the mids. Only the Italians saved as much. We should not, however, ignore the role of policy and persuasion in normalizing this practice.
The early postwar decades witnessed exceptionally rapid growth. From to the Japanese economy grew at more than 10 percent per annum. Typically households in fast-growing economies tend to save at higher rates as consumption lags behind rising incomes. Still, would the Japanese have saved as much? Across the ideological spectrum, the cause of increasing savings enjoyed remarkably high levels of support from political parties, popular organizations, and ordinary Japanese. As in contemporary Europe, much of the Left vocally backed the twin missions of restraining consumption and augmenting national savings.
Significantly, several Socialist leaders had been prewar Protestant reformers who worked with the imperial state to inculcate habits of thrift in the populace. The Ministry of Finance employed the famous Christian socialist reformer Kagawa Toyohiko to lecture savings- promotion officers. Along with much of the labor movement, the Socialist Party embraced austerity and national saving as beneficial to the working class and the Japanese people as a whole. Although they criticized conservative governments on other issues, several prominent Marxian economists cooperated with the bureaucracy to promote saving.
Those who do this well have relatively rich consumer lives even if their income is relatively low. Building on wartime developments, Japanese women became even more central to encouraging saving and rationalizing consumption.
Claiming some 7. Getting women to keep household account books has been at the core of postwar Japanese savings promotion. They would continue to do so at those levels for the next twenty-five years. Keeping a typical Japanese account book was not for the languid. Each day, one recorded income and then itemized expenditures into ten or more categories including taxes, food, housing, utilities, clothing, health,. Account books from the s further instructed users to record all credit card purchases. Yet the bigger surprise is how many Japanese women utilized the ledgers more or less as designed.
According to official surveys from to , roughly half of those surveyed who kept accounts replied that they recorded income and expenditures every day.