The economy of a nation is a major indication of its success. One aspect of a nation's economic success or failure is the system of government. Whether a nation is socialistic, communistic, ruled by absolute sovereignty, or based on capitalistic principles can be a key factor in a country's economic success or failure. Government is the foundation of an economy but it is not what determines its success. Issues that determine a nation’s economic success include growth strategies, improved or increased resources, investment and savings, government policies, trade, foreign direct investment, income distribution, labor allocation, innovations in technology, and several other economic issues. I feel that economic growth is the main indicator of economic success. Additionally, innovations in technology, improving human capital, and improving foreign direct investment (FDI) are three issues that can lead to economic growth.
In the following essay I will try to compare two highly developed economies, Japan and The United Kingdom. I will emphasize the success of their economies and how human capital, advancing technology (innovation), and FDI have contributed to their current success or failure. I will briefly discuss the contemporary history of each country, thoroughly cover their current conditions, and end with expectations for their future.
Introduction: Comparison of Japan and the United Kingdom
The U.K. and Japan seem natural subjects for comparison. British and Japanese observers alike have long been fascinated by the many parallels (and the even more numerous divergences) in the histories of these two island nations. Particularly interesting about these two was the "economic role reversal” which occurred between Japan and Britain over the course of the twentieth century. In 1900, the United Kingdom was the world's dominant colonial, financial and naval power, as well as a center of industrial production and technological innovation. Japan was a mere up-start, a precocious and aspiring, but still unthreatening, economic competitor in East Asia. The beginning of the twentieth century, and more accurately the 1950s, saw Japan and Great Britain’s economic “role” reverse. Although Britain has enjoyed healthy growth rates and rising standards of living over the past 100 years, it has been progressively eclipsed by Japan as an economic superpower and an international model. Indeed, Britain's accomplishments have paled in comparison to Japan's meteoric rise: while Japan has emerged as the outstanding economic "success story" of the twentieth century, Great Britain's relatively modest performance has been both discouraging and confounding.
Brief Contemporary History: