Satō advocated an authoritarian-style government based on Western science and political institutions. In his Keizai yoryaku (The Epitome of Economy), he wrote that "The rationale of economy is to manage the realm, develop goods, make domains affluent, and succor everyone."
Satō considered the European powers to be a threat that Japan needed to counter by radical economic and military reforms, as well as imperial expansion along European lines. His 1823 work A Secret Strategy for Expansion（宇内混同秘策） called for Japanese world domination, describing how China should be conquered via Manchuria. He suggested that the Japanese government embark on "colonial and agricultural undertakings" on uninhabited islands in the South China Sea. He also said that the Japanese government should take the Ryūkyū as a base to attack and capture Luzon Island by surprise, then use Luzon as a base for its "southward advance" to seize Java and other places, ultimately spreading its "military might" in Southeast Asia. He believed that Japan should "adopt suitable means of aggression and annexation" to "increase its national interests." This became the first draft of Japan's "southward advance" strategy.