There is a characteristic moral economy of deflation, and it can be traced with clarity in the case of Japan's long deflation of the 1920s. Deflation emerged as an issue in 1919 and reached an extreme in 1929-31, when the Hamaguchi Osachi cabinet adopted the depression-inducing policy of restoring the yen to gold convertibility at its old prewar value. To support its deflation policy, the cabinet launched an extraordinary campaign to induce households to reduce their consumption. Consumption was a specifically gendered conception, and women's place as subjects and as objects of consumption became the symbolic center of a historic confrontation between orthodox "monetarist" and novel "Keynesian" ideas.
The Journal of Japanese Studies – Society for Japanese Studies
Published: Jul 30, 2004