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James Fallows

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Japan gets the most of ordinary people by organizing them to adapt and succeed. America, by getting out of their way so that they can adjust individually, allows them to succeed. It is not that Japan has no individualists and America no organizations, but the thrusts of the societies are different. Japan has distorted its economy and depressed its living standard in order to keep its job structure and social values as steady as possible. At the government's direction, the entire economy has tried to flex almost as one, in response to the ever-changing world. The country often seems like a family that becomes more tightly bound together when it must withstand war, emigration, or some other upheaval. America's strength is the opposite: it opens its doors and brings the world's disorder in. It tolerates social change that would tear most other countries apart. The openness encourages Americans to adapt as individuals rather than as a group.
--
Making America Great Again (1989), ch. 3

 
James Fallows

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