Jackson on November 22, 2009, 01:21:55 am
An odd aspect of this world that I just realized; no US government means no Commodore Matthew C. Perry, which means in this world Japan is still an isolated nation, in all probability still ruled by the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Sean Roach on November 22, 2009, 01:06:25 pm
Remember those odd parallels.
Perry may have been a Hamiltonian from Russia.
Or Perry may have been a rich trader on a private mission, who awed the Japanese with their superior materials and gear.
Or Perry may have been a chinaman, or indian.
Bur Perry probably hit Japan at about the same time in history.

terry_freeman on November 27, 2009, 12:54:43 pm
Japan without Commodore Perry might be an amazingly prosperous place. We in the West tend to seriously underestimate the vitality of their legal, cultural, and commercial vitality. I have a book on my shelves of Japanese Temple Mathematics - I am too lazy to google up the title. The gist is that people in Japan were in the habit of hanging mathematical problems in the temples as a sort of offering to the gods. The collected scrolls are quite sophisticated and numerous, suggesting a widespread fluency with abstract mathematical ideas.

The Japanese, pre-Commodore, had large networks of free-market educational institutions, many of them with a single teacher, which did a remarkable job of providing a genuinely universal education. They were inexpensive, flexible, and adaptable. Westernization transformed them into something more limited, more bureaucratic, less flexible, and less available.

AnonymousOne on March 18, 2010, 02:17:33 am
I'm a car guy so I think in those terms and my first thought was:

"but they might never have produced the Nissan GT-R :'("

My next thought was ...

"But damn I bet they would produce something better!"
The Economist's Cookbook - Recipes For A More Free Society

terry_freeman on March 21, 2010, 03:07:27 pm
Another book, which used to be on my shelves: John Powelson's Centuries of Economic Endeavor, Parallel paths in Japan and Europe. Japan independently developed many of the commercial and legal institutions which led to a (relatively) free market economy in Europe. If Perry had been a genuine free trader, not looking for special privileges for America, it is likely that Japan would have come out of her isolationist episode in a very different manner.