COMPARISON BETWEEN JAPAN, ARGENTINA, AND THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE REFORM AGENDAS 6
Comparisonbetween Japan, Argentina, and the Ottoman Empire reform Agendas
Inthe early years of the 19th century, The Great General (TokugawaShogun) who had ruled Japan during its years of civil unrest lostpower and a new emperor was restored to the supreme position. The NewEmperor Meiji (the enlightened rule) began the Meiji Restoration,which established the corners of Japanese economic, military, andpolitical prosperity. The Japanese leaders embarked on a course ofmodernizing Japan in the middle of the nineteenth century because ofa number of reasons. To begin with, Japan was militarily weak,primarily agricultural in its economics, and lagging behindtechnologically. Politically, Japan was controlled by hundreds offeudal lords (Howard, 2001). Japan needed an educated population toachieve its political, social, and economic goals, it required themilitary power to gain the political capital required to exertinfluence at the world stage, and it needed the technologicalinvestment to sustain its exponentially growing population. Toachieve these objectives, Japan initiated a number of social andpolitical reforms that set the basis of present day Japan.
Inan effort to achieve its transformation agenda, leaders of the Meijiperiod engaged in a number of activities that saw the setting of thephase for the industrial revolution in Japan. To begin with, Meijileaders initiated numerous domestic reforms aimed at changingJapanese social, political, and economic institutions. For instance,the Japanese army for the first time in history trained in Europegaining important infantry and fighting techniques that saw theneutralization of resistance and rebellion – one of the mainfactors inhibiting reforms. The creation of civic ideology centeredon the emperor set the stage for political stabilization in Japan.Meiji leaders created narratives the connected the emperor to thelong line of historical continuity and established Shinto as the mainreligion in the country. The feudal system of the aristocracy wasabolished, a new national education system was introduced, and aconstitution that created a parliament was adopted.
Anumber of factors backed the success of Japanese reforms: to beginwith, the establishment of the national education system ensuredJapan had a well-educated population that would work on thedeveloping industries. Consequently, the adoption of a newconstitution and the subsequent establishment of a parliament andother institutions of governance allowed Japan to be taken seriouslyat the international front. The Western governments elevated Japansposition in the world politics giving it major political capital atthe international level. As much as the abolition of feudalism wasone of Japanese reform agendas, its abolition resulted to significantsocial and political changes. With this abolition, millions ofJapanese acquired the freedom of choice making Japan semi democratic(Johns, 1992). In addition, the abolition of feudalism provided a newenvironment in which new political, financial, and social ideas couldthrive.
Consequently,the privatizations of the government established industries in 1880played an important role in strengthening the new reform agendas. Asan example, the Japanese government had invested significantly in thebuilding of railways, shipping lines, mines, munitions works,telephone systems, and consumer industries. However, the managementand maintenance of these industries proved to be a financialchallenge to the government. In 1880, the government decided torelease most its industries by selling them to private investors.These encouraged activities such as subsidies, tax relieves and otherforms of incentives. The decision gave birth of major conglomeratessuch as Zaibatsu, which came to control must of Japan’s industrialsector.
Japan’sreform agenda bears major resemblance with the reforms undertaken bythe Ottoman Empire. Credited as one of the greatest empires in humanhistory, the Ottoman rulers organized the empire into one of thegreatest economic powerhouses in Eastern and Western Europe. Fourimportant reforms set the stage for Ottoman Empire’s success: awell-established court system based on Muslim law, an efficienttaxation system, and a divide and rule political strategy. TheOttoman sultan was surrounded by a group of elite advisers, imperialcouncils, and divans that made his ruling ease and well connected tothe people. On the other hand, Argentina has been characterized by aseries of episodes of political and social reforms since the 1880s.However, significant social, economic, and political reforms began inthe mid 20th century after the Revolucion Libertadora (1955 –1958). Revolucion Libertodora was a military coup and an importantattempt to restore democracy and civil liberty in Argentina. EduardoLonardi took power following the coup, but he would later relinquishpower to Pedro Aramburu who was elected president in 1955. However,political unrest, economic recession, and social revolt would laterforce Aramburu out of power and usher in a fragile yet importantradical administration that set the stage for revolution Argentina.Revolucion Libertodora set the phase for Revolucion Argentina, whichembarked on significant social, political, and economic reforms.Privatization, a new constitutional dispensation, and an economicstability were initiated (Bethell, 1991). The ideals of RevolucionArgentina have continued to form the basis for present-day Argentina.
Noneof the discussed episodes of reforms whether during the OttomanEmpire or Argentinean reform agenda can be considered as either fullsuccess or a total failure. Of course, none of the two created thepillar for economic reforms like the Japanese reforms. Nevertheless,each of the reform agendas had their different levels of successrelative to the time of their popularization. Just like the Japanesereforms, the Ottoman Empire reforms had a significant politicalimpact particularly on the unification of the various regions thatformed the empire. The Ottoman Empire produced similar results as theJapanese, the ottoman army was strengthened significantly, and theOttoman Empire had a significant influence on the global scale.However, unlike the Ottoman Empire, which did not stand the test oftime, Japan has grown into a strong united country characterized bystrong institutions and high levels of global influence (Perez,1998).
Similarly,the Argentinean reforms had a significant impact on the social,economic, and political culture of Argentina. For instance,privatization of government-owned institutions except a couple ofbanks coupled with free-market reforms characterized both countries’revolutions initiatives. Just like Japan, the economy grewsignificantly leaping from the low recession and high inflationmarket to a relatively stable economic environment, which hascontinued to foster political stability and economic success to date.
Bethell,L. (1991). TheCambridge History of Latin America,Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Howard,D. (2001). TheHistory of Turkey. Westport, CT:Greenwood Publishing Group. Read pp. 55-83.
Johns,M. (1992). Industrial capital and economic development in turn of thecentury Argentina. EconomicGeography, 68(2),188-204.
Perez,L. (1998). TheHistory of Japan.Westport CT: Greenwood Press. Read pp. 55-142.
Sagers,J. (2006). Originsof Japanese Wealth and Power: Reconciling Confucianism andCapitalism, 1830-1885. Palgrave Macmillan. Read pp.1-140