Blogs > Liberty and Power > Change: The Only Constant

Apr 24, 2007 10:40 am

Change: The Only Constant

The BBC report that Toyota are now the world’s largest carmaker. GM are in second place.

This was only to be expected. Since the 16th century, Japanese firms have been steadily building up their capital, & Japanese labour has become evermore skilled. In the mid-1950s, Japanese shipyards overtook the British, who had built most of the world’s shipping in the late 19th century. (In 1999, the South Koreans pulled ahead of the Japanese; the Chinese are now at the top…) And so now with cars, Toyota are the world's leading car-maker...

From the mid-19th century, the market for ships & shipping was always world-wide. This became true of cars from the 1920s onwards. Japanese firms were able to enter only in the 1960s. But Japanese firms not only sell their products on a global scale, they also buy their inputs across the globe. Alone amongst DCs, the larger part of Japanese imports consist of primary products -- raw materials, foodstuffs, etc. The coal & iron ore that go into the steel which goes into cars & ships ‘made in Japan’, are all imported ( from Australia, Canada, etc.): Japan has next to no resources; it even has very little flat land. Thus Japan is really the Japanese node in a global production network.

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