Reactionary Marxism: The End of Ideology in Japan?


  • John Lie



History, Marxism


The recent electoral triumph of the reigning Liberal Democratic Party in Japan poses a stark contrast to the disorganized left, while possibly paving the way for the rise of revanchist nationalism. In such an inauspicious time, the temptation on the left is toward either an adventurism ignorant of political reality or a conformism devoid of political possibility. A frightening aspect of contemporary Japan is the collapse of the ideological left to the "high-growth" corporate ideology; even self-professed Marxists have begun to preach the gospel of "Japan as number one." The recent publication of Hiroji Baba's Mass Enrichment and Finance Capital therefore marks something of a landmark in the ideological disenfranchisement of the Marxist left in Japan. Baba confidently asserts that "the outstanding characteristic of contemporary capitalism is mass enrichment" and exults in the success of Japanese capitalism. Baba writes polemically over a wide range of issues; here I shall focus on three: the nature of the Japanese economy, the North-South problem, and the state of economic science in Japan.

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