This question is the heart of the matter. Up to now, the study of the history of the development of Japanese capitalism has been conducted from the perspective of the formation of the capitalist and working classes, taking Britain as a classic case. The theoretical underpinning of this is Marxism. In Das Kapital, Marx analyzed the case of Britain, the first country in the world where capitalism was established, arguing that British society was based on the system of private ownership and made up of the propertied capitalist class and the propertyless working class.
According to Marx, the development of capitalism cannot occur without the emergence of these two major classes. Japanese historians influenced by Marxist theory have argued that the development of capitalism in Japan resulted from the policy of deflation adopted by Matsukata Masayoshi (the so-called Matsukata fiscal policy) when he was appointed minister of finance in 1881. As a result of this policy, prices and interest rates fell, farmers lost their holdings and large numbers of them flowed into the cities and became laborers. According to these historians, this led to the creation of the industrial capital necessary for the emergence of capitalism in Japan. This is the origin of the interpretation that the Japanese industrial revolution occurred one hundred years later than the British industrial revolution of the late eighteenth century.
However, the existence on the one hand of capitalists who own the capital and means of production to employ people and on the other hand of laborers who do not possess either does not necessarily result in the rise of capitalism. In present-day Russia, the countries of former Eastern Europe, India, Egypt and all over the world, there are those who own land and capital and those who do not. There is no reason to suppose that the recognition of private ownership and bipolar division between the propertied and unpropertied will automatically guarantee economic development.
This makes it necessary for us to fundamentally reconsider a well-known theory of Marx regarding the establishment of capitalism (on which Japanese economic historians have depended), namely the theory of _primitive accumulation_ outlined in Volume 1, Part 8, Chapter 26 of Das Kapital. At the beginning of this chapter, Marx writes: _We have seen how money is changed into capital; how through capital surplus-value is made, and from surplus-value more capital. But the accumulation of capital pre-supposes surplus-value; surplus-value pre-supposes capitalistic production; capitalistic production pre-supposes the pre-existence of considerable masses of capital and or labor-power in the hands of producers of commodities. The whole movement, therefore, seems to turn in a vicious circle, out of which we can only get by supposing a primitive accumulation (previous accumulation of Adam Smith) preceding capitalistic accumulation; an accumulation not the result of capitalist mode of production but its starting point._
_Primitive accumulation_is the separation of the producer and the means of production, a bipolar class division which occurs as farmers lose their land and become propertyless and a propertied class appears in whose hands the land is accumulated. British society saw the establishment of a working class who had nothing to sell apart from their labor power on the one hand and a capitalist class who owned the capital and means of production to employ them on the other. Marx called this process _primitive accumulation._ But it is possible that in the British case economic development simply happened to occur within the process of the establishment of these two major classes. The peculiar factors that give rise to development lie elsewhere and the Japanese case brings them into clear relief.
British Capitalism: Business Administration Based on Large Landowning
It may be said that the only countries in the world where capitalism is fully developed today are the G7 nations (the seven advanced nations of Britain, Germany, Italy, France, the United States, Canada, and Japan).