Non-Liberalism in Germany and Japan


In politics, liberalism is defined as the theory of politics that is based on the natural autonomy of individuals, advocating for civil and political liberties[1]. Liberalism in government and political institutions has been practiced for many years, with the states that opt for this type of governance believing that it promotes political development. Liberalism tolerates the governance of a state through the consent of the country’s citizens, as well as, the protection of these people from arbitrary authority[2]. Though most countries and states have accepted and adopted liberalism in the governance of their countries, others have opted to take a different approach, which discourages the application of liberalism. Two such countries are Germany and Japan, which have opted for a non-liberal approach to their political and government institutions.

With a non-liberal approach, these countries do not allow civil and political freedom, and instead, the government does not guarantee individual rights and civil liberties in their respective states[3]. Such countries restrict the development of political, social, and economic development of its state, hence affecting the overall development of these states.  Countries that opt for this system of governance do this as a way to maintain law and order in their societies. They believe that a democratic system of governance corrupts the entire system of governance and leads to conflict between the state and its citizens when the two do not agree on the path to be followed with regards to certain policies and procedures.  Non-Liberalism is a concept that is particularly directed and meant for serving the state and its people. However, this form of governance serves the authorities more than it does the citizens of a state, thus proving to be a problem when applied. The theoretical underpinnings of this non-liberalism are complex and they include the promotion of a structured and organized system of governance, maintenance of law and order, as well as, the observance of traditional political values to sustain the uniqueness of the state[4] (Holmes 22).

Researchers argue that a non-liberal approach to governance compels countries towards a different route from the basic development of modern political institutions. Studies explain that non-liberalism affects the development of modern political institutions in countries both positively and negatively[5] (Holmes 7).

This paper examines the effect of non-liberalism in Germany and Japan. The paper explains how non-liberalism in Germany and Japan has affected the development of modern political institutions in these two countries.


Effects of Non-Liberalism in Germany and Japan

According to researchers, the adoption of a non-liberal approach to political and governance has affected the development of modern political institutions in states that have opted for this form of political approach. Accordingly, the effects of non-liberalism in countries and states are primarily dependent on the degree of implementation in the respective country or state. Four main effects of non-liberalism have been identified including political power and bureaucracy, political apathy, poor constitutional and administrative development, as well as, moral degradation of political institutions[6].


Political Power and Bureaucracy

Non-liberalism has been closely linked with political power and bureaucracy as it promotes a hierarchical system of governance[7]. Political power and bureaucracy refers to the state at which political institutions have been systemized in a dictatorial manner. German and Japan have for years demonstrated this type of leadership in their political institutions, and this has affected the development of political institutions in these states.  Non-liberalism grants power only to those in top authority thus limiting equality of its citizens. This means that those in authority have the power to make decisions for the rest of the citizens in a country. Most of these decisions revolve around the way of life for the country citizens including the principles and standards to be followed by both political and social institutions in the state. Both Germany and Japan have experienced this political power and bureaucracy in their systems of governance, which has proved to have a negative influence on each of the countries. The citizens of both these states do not enjoy political freedom, and they more often than not find themselves being punished for exercising this[8]. Only those appointed in various political institutions can take part in country politics thus making it hard for the rest to be equally represented. Political power and bureaucracy affects modern political development because, it does not recognize the needs of all the individuals in these states. However, bureaucracy has been identified as a beneficial factor with regards to the development of political institutions in a state. Researches argue that the hierarchical form of governance in a state compels individuals to adhere to the laws of the state. It instigates some form of respect for the law of the land, and for that reason, promotes proper governance of the state. For example, citizens in Germany and Japan reveal a greater observance of the laws, thus reducing the possibility of conflict in these states. However, this can work both ways as citizens may conflict with those in authority regarding the laws governing their land. Japan, for example, has experienced these types of conflict as the citizens of the state tend to conflict with the state authorities on some of the laws used to govern the state.


Political Apathy

Political apathy refers to the state of lack of political engagement by individuals who make up a country or state. Researchers explain this as one of the greatest effects of a non-liberal approach to state governance, as most country citizens are not permitted to take an active part in their country’s politics[9]. Sequentially, these people are not motivated into engaging in their countries political affairs, as they opt to leave the ruling and governance of the state to those in authority. Unlike others states such as the US, countries that have opted for this system of governance experience lesser political involvement by the citizens of a state and for that reason they are not represented effectively. Owing to the lack of representation for the citizens in these states, individuals feel that the government does not adequately address their needs as citizens. They believe that the ability to dictate every aspects of their lives by those in authority impedes on their political freedom, which in turn affects other areas of their social and economic lives. Political apathy can be detrimental to a state’s political structure and institutions, because countries that embrace this approach to governance have a tendency of lacking behind when it comes to the transition into modern states. Germany and Japan have both experienced this, and have taken along period to transform their political institutions into modern political structures[10]. When compared to other states like the United States of America, one can clearly see how this applies, as both these two countries are still governed through the traditional means that are not part of the modern society. Whereas the citizens in other liberalized states take part in the formulation of policies in their political institutions, those in Germany and Japan have a problem taking part in the development of their state’s political institutions. Researchers explain that political apathy affects the political development of countries because those in authority exercise their power without criticism, which is necessary to identify the various loopholes in political governance.


Poor Constitutional and Administrative Development

Political scientists explain that poor constitutional and administrative development comes as a result of non-liberalism, and they use the example of Germany and Japan to illustrate this. Poor constitutional and administrative development refers to the process through which the administration, as well as, the state constitution undergoes changes during the course of time. It is whereby amendments are made to the constitution and the administrative structure of a state, as the country develops into a modern state. Constitutional development is especially crucial for political development, as it addresses the current issues and problems in a state, as opposed to, issues that have been there in the past. For that reason, countries such as Germany and Japan have proved incapable of solving some of the issues that they are currently facing, and instead, the constitution dwells on past issues. This, in turn, means that such states fall behind in the progression towards becoming modern states as their constitutions and administrative systems and structures tend to be conventional.  In both these states, the constitution has undergone very few changes owing to the traditional approach of non-liberalism[11]. For that reason, each of the country’s constitution suffers a great deal, which in turn affects the development of political institutions into modern political systems. Japan’s constitution, for example, has not undergone any changes for a few years now, and some of the accepted practices of the constitution are not considered as modern, hence making the process of modern political development for this state a problem. In addition this, the fact that liberalism has been deemed one of the most modern political developments in governance makes such states appear traditional and their transition to modernity is a problem. Researchers argue that the lack of constitutional and administrative development has failed these countries, as they seem to have lagged behind in political development and progression.


Moral Degradation of Political Institutions

During and after the Second World War, Germany had been solely governed by the Nazi regime, which was authoritarian in nature, which was also responsible for some of the worst crimes against humanity[12]. This is an example of how non-liberalism has promoted moral degradation of political institutions in countries and states. Moral degradation of political institution has been exposed in various ways including corruption, crimes against humanity, and political discrimination among other things. Countries that have adopted a non-liberal approach to politics and governance reveal the highest forms of corruption in their political institutions. Corruption is brought about by the systemized nature of the political institutions that gives power to those in authority. Because they are in authority, individuals accept bribes from citizens for the provision of services to their citizens. Japan’s political institutions have been one of the most corrupt political institutions in the world, and this has been brought about by the adoption of political non-liberalism. Citizens of this state have been forced into bribing officials so as to get their way. In relation to crimes against humanity, Germany is the best example, and as mentioned before, the country experienced the worst crimes against humanity owing to the non-liberal approach to politics.  Japan has also experienced a fair share of this degradation, with most governing institutions using violent approaches to ensure political adherence by the country citizens[13]. Those in authority use their political power to dictate what should be done in a state, with citizens who do not adhere to this facing a punishment from the state. Discrimination based on political preference is also experienced in such states, and this is closely linked with the issue of crimes against humanity. Individuals who do not observe the accepted political laws and regulations tend to be discriminated against both in the political and social settings. Such individuals are prohibited from exercising their political freedom, which in turn provokes the need for retaliation by these individuals.  The possibility of punishment for the lack of observance for the accepted laws of the land is also high thus increasing instability in the state. Countries that use a non-liberal approach to governance tend to experience a higher level of moral degradation in their political institutions that other states hence the need for a redefined political structure in such states.









Annotated Bibliography

Calder, Kent E. Crisis and Compensation: Public Policy and Political Stability in Japan. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1991. Print.

This book examines the Japanese political system in relation to the states developed public policies. The author argues that these policies have been responsible for Japan’s political stability, as they are used as responses to threats facing the state’s political system. Calder draws particular attention to Japan’s economic inefficiency, and he uses this as the primary example of the effects of the states policy adoption, which is of non-liberal nature.  Generally, the book explains how Japan has successfully exploited the concept of political non-liberalism to shape its political structure for the future benefits of its citizens.


Dahrendorf, Ralf. Society and Democracy in Germany. United Kingdon: Gregg Revivals, 1992. Print.

This book examines the Germany’s political system, which is assumed to be a result of the failure of the country’s liberal revolution. The book explains some of the effects of Germany’s adoption of a non-liberal political system, such as social and economic inequality. The book explains how the failure to adopt a liberal political system inherently led to the failure to confront the country’s colossal problems. The author explains that the choice to adopt a non-liberal political system has affected the present political system in the state, thus the importance of reviewing some of these decisions. Generally, the book examines the redefinition of Germany as a political state both in the political and social arenas.


Holmes, Stephen. The Anatomy of Anti-Liberalism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. Print.

This book provides an analysis of the concept of Anti-liberalism and its adoption in various states in the world. The book explains the concept and application of anti-liberalism, explaining its origin, whom it serves, as well as, the effects of anti-liberalism in political systems and structures. The author exposes the theoretical underpinnings of anti-liberalism, as well as, its perceived effects on nations that opt to adopt the concept. The book explains the different effects of anti-liberalism ranging from communal bonds, to moral disintegration, highlighting the implication of these in countries and states.


Katzenstein, Peter J. Policy and Politics in West Germany. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987. Print.

In this book, the author provides a new perspective of German non-liberalism in their political system and institutions. The author specifically, draws attention to Germany’s ability to revive militarism and authoritarianism, when its fellow industrialized countries took on a different course in liberalism. The author explains that the lack of liberal revolution in Germany remains the source of some of the state’s problems such as its tragic confrontation with modernity. The book links the failure to experience liberal revolutions with six main problems such as economic organization, social welfare, industrial affairs, immigrant workers, administrative development, and academic reform. He explains how these problems have come about as effects of non-liberalism in Germany, thus explains the political situation in the state.


Kohno, Masaru. Japan’s Postwar Party Politics. New Jersey: Princeton University press, 1997. Print.

In this book, the author examines the evolution of Japan’s political system in the period during and after the Second World War. The book highlights the major political changes that took place in Japan during this period, placing emphasis on the country’s shift from a liberal democratic state to a conservative state. This book provides a reflective analysis of Japan’s political system, and the implications of adopting a conservative approach of politics in the state.  As proof for his ideologies, the author highlights the government formation process in Japan so at to assist the readers understand the changes that took place.


Markovits, Andrei S. and Reich, Simon. The German Predicament. New York: Cornell University Press, 1997. Print.

This article draws specific attention to the institutional anatomy of Germany as an anti-liberal state. As the article explains, factors such as the state’s economic and political power illustrate the effects of the rejection of liberalism in the years preceding and after the 20th century. In relation to this, the book explains the difficulty in passage to a modern society by Germany, which is highlighted as one of the greatest effects of non-liberalism in Germany. The author explains that the absence of democracy and liberalism in Germany has been responsible for some of the problems the country is experiencing. Generally, the book offers a different perspective of regarding the development of German political institutions, because of failure to experience a liberal revolution like its fellow developed countries.



Pempel, T.J. Policy and Politics in Japan. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982. Print.

Drawing attention to the topic of political non-liberalism, this book analyses the non-liberal political system in Japan. The book identifies five main areas that have been affected by Japan’s choice to be a non-liberal nation including social welfare, labor relations, economic policy, higher education, and administrative reform. The author draws attention to Japan’s bureaucratic autonomy, illustrating the strengths and weaknesses of the conservative political system. Basically, the book provides the advantages of the non-liberal conservative political system over the liberal political system. Simply, the book provides an realistic assessment of Japan’s non-liberal political system in comparison to that of other industrialized countries.


Reich, Simon. The Fruits of Fascism. New York: Cornell University Press, 1990. Print.

This book examines Germany’s lack of liberal adoption, and the effects that this has had on the political, economic, and social situations in the state. The book is, however, more inclined to the positive effects of the Fascism, which is the opposite of liberalism, on Germany, as well as, its citizens. The author explains, how Germany successfully managed to develop a well-structured and hierarchical political system that has in turn had various effects and implications on the state. However, the book also explains the negative effects of this highlighting institutional sclerosis, as the primary effect of Fascism.



Stockwin, James. A. A. Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Resurgent Economy. New

Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, 1999. Print.

This book provides an in-depth analysis of Japan’s political systems, institutions, and culture. More specifically, the book draws attention to the modern political system, which he explains as the outcome of the country’s rejection to liberalism and democracy. Japan’s patterns of complexity in their political institutions, especially in the 20th century have been highlighted, in light of the country’s cultural and historic situation. The book provides six main effects of Japan’s rejection of liberalism including political power and bureaucracy, political apathy, poor economic management, deficiency in public satisfaction, and Japan’s bad constitution.


Streeck, Wolfgang and Yamamura, Kozo. The Origins of Non-Liberal Capitalism. New York: Cornell University Press, 2005. Print.

Unlike the other books used for this research study, this book draws emphasis on both the German and Japanese nations, comparing the effect of non-liberalism in both these states. The book presents a collection of the ideas of various Japanese and Germany political scientists, with each providing personal views on the matter. Specifically, the book provides a historical background of the application and implementation of non-liberal capitalism in Germany and Japan. This is done from two main perspectives including the emergence of capitalism and its survival, and the difference between the German and the Japanese political systems. The book also provides a summary of internally consistent requirements of an entrenched capitalist nation in comparison to the liberal economy.

[1] Holmes, Stephen. The Anatomy of Anti-Liberalism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996.  pp. 2


[2] Holmes, Stephen. The Anatomy of Anti-Liberalism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996.  pp. 2


[3] Holmes, Stephen. The Anatomy of Anti-Liberalism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996.  pp. 5


[4] Holmes, Stephen. The Anatomy of Anti-Liberalism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. pp. 22


[5] Holmes, Stephen. The Anatomy of Anti-Liberalism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. pp. 7


[6] Stockwin, James. A. A. Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Resurgent Economy. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, 1999. pp. 112.


[7] Streeck, Wolfgang and Yamamura, Kozo. The Origins of Non-Liberal Capitalism. New York: Cornell University Press, 2005. pp. 56.


[8] Reich, Simon. The Fruits of Fascism. New York: Cornell University Press, 1990. pp. 68.


[9] Stockwin, James. A. A. Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Resurgent Economy. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, 1999. pp. 120


[10] Kohno, Masaru. Japan’s Postwar Party Politics. New Jersey: Princeton University press, 1997. pp. 56.


[11] Streeck, Wolfgang and Yamamura, Kozo. The Origins of Non-Liberal Capitalism. New York: Cornell University Press, 2005. pp. 79


[12] Markovits, Andrei S. and Reich, Simon. The German Predicament. New York: Cornell University Press, 1997. pp. 54


[13] Calder, Kent E. Crisis and Compensation: Public Policy and Political Stability in Japan. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1991. pp. 20


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