The December 2004 issue of D-Lib Magazine contains an interesting contribution on the growing importance of RSS (or 'Really Simple Syndication') in science publishing, and the way RSS is upsetting our thinking of online publications. See, for instance:
"These new 'disruptive' technologies (...) are now beginning to challenge the orthodoxy of the traditional website and its primacy in users' minds. The bastion of online publishing is under threat as never before. RSS is the very antithesis of the website. It is not a 'home page' for visitors to call at, but rather it provides a synopsis, or snapshot, of the current state of a website with simple titles and links. While titles and links are the joints that articulate an RSS feed, they can be freely embellished with textual descriptions and richer metadata annotations. Thus said, RSS usually functions as a signal of change on a distant website, but it can more generally be interpreted as a kind of network connector—or glue technology—between disparate applications. Syndication and annotation are the order of the day and are beginning to herald a new immediacy in communications and information provision."
Although some doubts can be formulated about the assumed radically transformative potential of RSS (I do not completely agree with the authors' implicit claims that RSS will be the dominant publishing technology of the 21st century, let alone that it will make existent technologies obsolete), Tony Hammond / Timo Hannay / Ben Lund provide some very stimulating ideas on the possibilities and future of this new technology. Look for instance at the following existing uses of RSS:
In short, Histor¥ is committed to a definedly sociological and (unpretentiously) new approach to history. By allowing a careful distinction between historical fact (alternatively called structure) and the socially articulated interpretation and observation of historical fact (alternatively called semantics), it pronounces
For comparable studies, I refer to Niklas Luhmann's aforementioned tetralogy on the sociology of knowledge of modern society, Andreas Seeger's remarks, Wlliam Rash's analysis, Rodrigo Jokisch' study of the notion of 'meaning' in sociology, and Elena Esposito's outstanding inquiry into power. To the Japanese reader, I recommend Kimura's 木村 裕之 essay Ｎ・ルーマンの歴史的意味論と二階の観察.
Sydney Crawcour, "Kogyo Iken: Maeda Masana and His View of Meiji Economic Development", Journal of Japanese Studies 23:1 (1997), pp. 69-104.
"Kogyo Iken:..." is Sydney Crawcour's story of the eccentric bureaucrat Maeda Masano and the latter's voluminous report Kōgyō Iken 工業意見. Crawcour's (sometimes overtly detailed) article especially focuses on the existence of the official and unofficial (original) versions of the Kōgyō, against the background of Maeda's struggle against Matsukata Masayoshi's ideas on the future of Japan's industrialization. Maeda is described as strongly influenced by the dirigiste French agricultural economist Eugène Tisserand, who conducted surveys of regional agriculture and village economies in rural France and other parts of Europe. Politically, Maeda was closely connected to Ōkuma Shigenobu 大隈重信, which partly explains his struggle with Matsukata Masayoshi 松方正義.
Muroyama Yoshimasa of Kyūshū University recently published a compelling evaluation of Matsukata Masayoshi's deflationary policies. Drawing on a large amount of macro-economic data, Muroyama argues that his policies translated into a wide variety of intentional (意図された) and unintentional (意図せざる) effects. Muroyama's conclusions are quite innovative as they are the result of gathering previously unavailable or plainly neglected information (esp. with respect to the effects of Matsukata's policies on the trade balance with the United States). I particularly appreciated Muroyama's remarks on the similaties and dissimilarities between Matsuka's deflationary policies and those of Inoue Junnosuke 井上準之助。 As is widely known, the latter's failed (eventually, Inoue was killed by militarist hawks); Matsukata's policies, however, are regarded as successful and the basis of modern Japanese finance.
The last issue of the 'Discussion Paper Series' of the bank of Japan's Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies contains a considerable contribution (64 pages in pdf-format) on the early monetary history of Japan. The article was prepared by Matsumura Keiji 松村恵司 of the Nara reseach Institute for Cultural Properties. It devotes special attention to the existence of 無文銀銭 mumonginsen or silver coins without inscription, prior to the appearance of 和同開珎 (wadōkaichin or wadōkaihō), believed to be one of the oldest coins of Japan (after the 開元通宝 kaigen tsūhō) -compare the explanations at the Bank of Japan History pages.
Marc Flandreau, Carl-Ludwig Holtfrerich, Harold James (eds.), International Financial History in the Twentieth Century: System and Anarchy (Cambridge, 2003)
Table of Contents
The authors of International Financial History in the Twentieth Century: System and Anarchy put the history ofthe international financial system against the background of the current debate on globalization and its limits. The central question, so they indicate, is whether such system needs steering, coordination, or control. What, indeed, is the appropriate design of the international system? It is shown that the history of that question is much older than often presumed, and remarkably left unanswered. Yet, a few lessons can easily be learnt (p. 3):
Asada Sadao (ed.), Japan & the World, 1853-1952. A Bibliographic Guide to Japanese Scholarship in Foreign Relations (New York, 1989)
Reading through Asada Sadao's bibliographic guide on Japanese Studies in Japan's foreign relations, I was struck by the complete omission of financial matters. Apparently, finance has not been covered extensively even in works in the Japanese language.
Worth remembering, however:
Olive Checkland & Tamaki Norio, 'Alexander Allan Shand, 1844-1930: a Banker the Japanese Could Trust', in Ian Nish (ed.), Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits (Richmond, 1997), pp. 65-78.
Table of Contents
Sevket Pamuk, 'The Evolution of Financial Institutions in the Ottoman Empire, 1600-1914', Financial History Review 11.1 (2004), pp. 7-32.
Table of Contents:
Browsing through Sevket Pamuk's excellent introduction to the financial history of the Ottoman Empire, I was struck by some extraordinary similarities with Japan's financial history, especially where it relates to Ottoman experiences with financial modernization (the adoption of the gold standard, the introduction of a paper currency...). Probably, both nations' confrontation with their being an economic late developer is the key to the explanation here. Both entered the modern era as largely agragrian countries, and had to cope with a considerable gap between international monetary realities (largely 'determined' by the Western powers) and the incapability of their respective domestic economies to conform to the former.
H.J. Moeshart, 'The Shimonoseki Affair, 1863-1864', in Ian Nish (ed.), Contemporary European Writing on Japan: Scholarly Views from Eastern and Western Europe (Routledge, 1988), pp. 44-50.
Table of Contents:
Moeshart chronologically presents the worsening of the relationship between Satsuma and Chōshū on the one hand, and the Western nations on the other. He describes growing anti-foreign sentiment of the samurai, and the determinacy of Western nations to revendicate attacks on their ships.
Disappointing is that Moeshart omits the context/aftermath of the incident, and/or the accelerating impact this incident had on the demise of the bakufu. In fact, the Western powers, acknowledgeable of the fact that the Shimonoseki indemnity constituted a formidable burden to the bakufu, used this as an element of pressure versus to latter to open up its harbors (i.e. kaikō 開港) for trade. This aspect is, however short, treated in: Roy Hanashiro, Thomas William Kinder and the Japanese Imperial Mint, 1868-1875, pp. 23-29.