3. Into the Twentieth Century
Apart from the speed of development, the main difference between Japan and the European and North American industrializing countries is to be found in Japan's ability to carry through similar stages of structural change and technical innovation at a much lower absolute level of per capita income. In part this may be due to technical factors, such as wooden instead of brick and stone houses, and rice instead of wheat and oats. It may also have to do with an earlier alternative social development which laid greater stress on social discipline, on community spirit and on the development of the self by study and adaptation than was the case among the Christian societies in the West. Whatever the cause, it has helped Japan to secure export markets by paying lower wages than other countries using similar technical equipment.