*** World War II Japan home front war economy output

World War II Japanese Home Front: War Economy--Output

World War II Japanese war industry
Figure 1.--Japan was and still is an interesting mixture of modernity and tradition. Japan was the only industrial power in Asia, but the ibdustrial sector was nuch smakler than in Europe , let alone America and still had few of the efficiecies of Americn industry.

Japan at the time of World War II was the inly industrialized country in Asia. This is part of the reason it was able to invade abnd conquer much of China, a much larger countru with resources Japan coveted. Japan also wanted assured markets in China to sell its products. While Japan had industrialized, it was still a very traditional country with a large, but not very efficient agricultural sector unable to supply the food needed to feed its people. It was a far cry from the major European industrial powers and even more so the United States. The country was a strange mixture od modernity and traditional beliefs. Japan had indtrializedm but was a far cry from adopting the industrial processesbthat would make it a world leader after the War. Harder to mention was the efficencies of American productio because America was far more motioruzed and ekectrified than Japan. This mean that war material could bev pricuced more r=efficently and at less cost--thus increasing the quantity and quality of what could be poduced. The major Japanese industrial advange was low Japanese wages. But as American workers were more priodyctive, this advantafe was bnot as gratas it would seem. Estimating economic output at the time was not very easy. It is not all that easy even today with much more data available. One estimare plces the Japanese GDP at nearly $170 billion (1938 in 1990 dollars). In contrast the American GDP was $800 billion. 【Harrison】 The Japanese vagely understood, but not the full extent of American industrial capacity. even the American military did notbyet understand that. The Japanes were counting on two factors to counter American material superiority: 1) Japanese martial spirit and 2) the German victory over the Soviet Union which would force America to shift its foucs to Europe. Worst for Japan, the American econmy steadily expanded during the War to about $1475 billion by 1945 while the Jaopabse GDP was collapsing to about $145 billion.


Fishback, Price V. and Thomas R. Brown. "World War II in Americas: Spemding defecits, multiplirrs, and sacrifice," e "The Economics of the Second World War: Eighty Years On (VoxEU Debate: November 12, 2019).

Harrison, Mark. The economics of World War II: An overview," in "The Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers" in Mark Harrison, ed. International Comparison (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 1. (University of Warwick).


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