IT IS a year since China and Japan went to war. The accompanying arguments and controversies should have covered exhaustively all the possibilities, contingencies and potentialities in the Far East. Yet there is one argument which has emerged seldom, if at all, into explicit discussion, but which nevertheless has played a large part in forming opinion abroad. Employed quietly by Japan, it tends to reconcile many to the prospect of China's defeat and absorption into the Japanese political and economic system. It needs to be examined.
The argument is briefly this: From the point of view of material interests, it makes little difference to the West whether Japan conquers China or not. So far as there is any difference, a Japanese victory will actually be of material advantage to the West, for Japanese occupation and control of China would mean the more speedy development of China's resources. True, the West will participate in the ensuing profits at one remove. But the profits to be shared will be greater than any conceivable without the help of Japanese "law and order." True, also, American, British and other Western enterprises will be evicted from China as they have been from Manchukuo, and foreign interests will henceforth have to use Japanese concerns as intermediaries. Yet through Japan the West would sell more to China than it does now and it would be able to invest more capital in China than it does now.
For Japan is efficient, technologically advanced, and experienced in industrial and financial organization, whereas China is inexperienced and inefficient. Japan can ensure stable government in China; the Chinese cannot. The industrialization of China thus will be accelerated under Japanese control, whereas under continued Chinese independence it will lag, as it has for decades. The great Chinese market, long a myth, will become a reality. Open Door or no Open Door, without industrialization the Chinese market will remain meager, to be picked at on the edges for scant findings. With industrialization -- possible
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