This book, worth the attention of anyone studying modern Japan, makes wonderfully clear how serious and far-reaching were the international and domestic consequences of early twentieth-century monetary policy. No matter what one thinks caused the Great Depression, it is not easy to see Japan's 1930 return to the gold standard under Finance Minister Inoue Junnosuke, a deliberate deflation during the collapse of world commodity prices, as a good idea. Depression intensified, the Japanese army seized Manchuria, and political assassinations claimed the lives of Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi and leading financiers. Guided by Finance Minister Takahashi Korekiyo, the new cabinet abandoned gold and the liberal international economic order it underpinned. Mark Metzler calls Inoue's gold-restoration policy “perhaps the greatest economic policy mistake in Japan's modern history” (p. xiv), seeing this as one of series of international twentieth-century economic stabilization crises and arguing that the “technical details of monetary policy became a...
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Book Review| May 01 2008
Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan
Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan. By Mark Metzler.
Berkeley and Los Angles: University of California Press,
Journal of Asian Studies (2008) 67 (2): 726–729.
David V. Tucker; Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan. Journal of Asian Studies 1 May 2008; 67 (2): 726–729. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911808001009
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