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Im folgenden wird ausgehend vom Weltbegriff der modernen japanischen Philosophie ein neuer Ansatzpunkt zur Beschreibung der Arbeitswelt und des in ihr Handelnden vorgestellt. Hierzu werden Erkenntnisse der japanischen Philosophie Aussagen der ökonomischen Theorie, insbesondere der neoklassischen Arbeitsmarkttheorie, vergleichend gegenübergestellt. Darüber hinaus werden internal labour markets als eine Form der Arbeitswelt dieskutiert, die sich den vorherrschenden ökonomischen Erklärungsansätzen entzieht und eine interessante Alternative zu 'westlichen' Arbeitsmärkten bietet.
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In a 1987 Arizona State University lecture on "Religion and the Tech-nological Revolution in Japan and the United States," Robert N. Bellah ar-gued that comparisons between Americans as "more individualistic and self-oriented" and Japanese as placing a "stronger emphasis on social solidarity" need to be modified to take into account the restraints imposed upon the egoism of American capitalism, at least until recently, by the ethical and religious doctrines previously dominant in American society. And in the "In-troduction" to the 1989 edition of his by now classic Tokugawa Religion, Bellah had earlier suggested that in Japan a variety of recent changes are making Japanese more like Americans: "Children will learn, as they do in the United States, that the accumulation of things and the expression of one's own feelings are the meaning of life." Yet what the detail of Bellah's dis-cussions suggests to me is that comparisons of American moral culture with Japanese, in terms of a contrast between the greater individualism of the for-mer and the greater solidarity of the latter, and tentative predictions of a future convergence of Japanese attitudes with American, under the impact of those very same forces and practices which have strengthened American individualism—television, the weakening of family ties, economic acquisi-tiveness, and competitiveness—may be even more fundamentally mistaken than he suggests, just because and insofar as they presuppose what is taken to be, perhaps under the influence of a certain kind of sociological theory, a culturally neutral conception of the distinction between the social and the individual. It is in terms of this type of distinction that Americans have generally—by authors less sophisticated than Bellah—been ranked as more * This article was originally delivered as a response to a paper by Robert N. Bellah, the text of which has not been made available. I have therefore restricted my references to Bel-lah's theses and have said nothing about the specific content of his paper, in order to avoid misrepresentation.
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