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The Growth IdeaPurpose and Prosperity in Postwar Japan$
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Scott O'Bryan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832827

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832827.001.0001

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The Measures That Rule

The Measures That Rule

(p.48) Chapter 2 The Measures That Rule
The Growth Idea

Scott O’Bryan

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the significant changes that were at work within the discipline of economics around the world during the mid-twentieth century and how these new lines of theoretical and methodological inquiry affected Japanese social-scientific thought. More specifically, it considers the rise of a host of statistical epistemologies that formed the basis of the accounting conventions out of which was produced the statistic of Gross National Product (GNP). The chapter first provides an overview of the empirical revolution in twentieth-century economic knowledge, with particular emphasis on the macroeconomic measures of national income and GNP as the linchpins in the complex of statistics reshaping the discipline of economics after World War II. It then discusses the factors that propelled national accounting into the policy arenas of Japan and other industrial powers, along with the creation of a task force headed by Stuart A. Rice to guide reform of Japan’s statistical system. It also describes the emergence of macroeconomic statistics such as national income accounting as governing analytical tools within the new statistical infrastructure in postwar Japan.

Keywords:   economics, Gross National Product, national income, statistics, national accounting, Stuart A. Rice, national income accounting, postwar Japan, World War II

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