The idea of the Developmental State is most closely associated with Chalmers Johnson and his seminal analysis of Japan’s very rapid, highly successful post-war reconstruction and reindustrialization. Johnson’s central contention was that Japan’s quite remarkable and historically unparalleled industrial renaissance was neither a fluke nor inevitable, but a consequence of the efforts of a Developmental State. A developmental state was one that was determined to influence the direction and pace of economic development by directly intervening in the development process, rather than relying on the uncoordinated influence of market forces to allocate resources. The developmental state took it upon itself the task of establishing substantive social and economic goals with which to guide the process of development and social mobilization. The most important of these goals, in Japan’s case, of course was the reconstruction of its industrial capacity, a process made easier by widespread consensus about the importance of industrial development.
The emphasis has to be placed on the influence over the direction and pace of development by directly intervening in the development process, rather than relying on the uncoordinated influence of market forces.
- Address by the Minister in The Presidency: National Planning Commission, Trevor Manuel, at the Wits Graduate School of Public Development Management
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