chapter  10
A bioeconomic Marx–Weber paradigm
Pages 13

The Japanese reception of Marx has employed a framework conceptualised as ‘Marx and Weber’. This framework is accepted not only as a confrontation between the two but also as a complementarity, balancing Marx’s cosmopolitan idealism with Weber’s nationalistic Realpolitik. There have been two phases in the way that Japanese social scientists used this complementarity. The reception of Karl Marx, begun in the 1930s and continuing until the 1960s, was the first phase, marked by both confrontation and complementarity. This ambivalence between repulsion and absorption characteristically appeared in the ‘dispute on Japanese capitalism’ of the interwar period. The Ro¯no¯ school portrayed the Japanese economy as a developed form of capitalism following the Meiji Restoration; accordingly the next major goal for social movements would be a total reformation of society in terms of socialism (Morris-Suzuki 1989: 87). The opposing Ko¯za school maintained that insofar as the Meiji Restoration was not a bourgeois revolution and was instead the substantial completion of an absolutist military regime, the task of social movements would be, in the first instance, the consolidation of modern capitalism, and only in the second instance, a socialist reformation (Morris-Suzuki 1989: 83). The latter school had implicitly adopted certain Weberian perspectives in order to conceptualise a bourgeois revolution as the primary task. Complementary to Marx, Weber emphasised the historical emergence of liberal civil society and economics, which Marx had analysed historically and evaluated negatively in his chapter on ‘primitive accumulation’ in Capital. According to Ko¯za school tactics, the introduction of Weber’s perspective into Marx’s views was not absurd. This was the first Marx-Weber paradigm. However, the Japanese polity then turned into a pseudo-Bonapartist regime at the time of World War II, instead of establishing a liberal economic society.