State and power in East Asian development: the case of Korea

2010-11-24T10:18:40Z (GMT) by Hyechung Eun
This thesis examines competing explanations of the rapid post-war economic growth of the New Industrialising Countries of East Asia (Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea). It pays particular attention to the role of the state and to the state's changing relations to other major centres of power. The general approach is then augmented by a detailed exploration using a case study of economic development in South Korea. The new wave of economic development in east Asian countries' has stimulated an vast amount of research from a wide variety of perspectives. Many studies have focused single-mindedly on the central position of the state and its guiding role in economic development, rather than taking a more holistic approach by looking at the complex and evolving interplay between the state and other social sectors. However, this present work attempts to demonstrate the utility of a perspective that places the economic success of east Asian NICs through a detailed examination of the Korean case within a broader context. This context takes account of the shifting international environment and its impact and the cultural factors which these four countries have inherited. It also explores the actions of the state in relation to the responses and strategies of other key groups of actors. In summary, the feature of the actions of state and the state autonomy have been' diversified in accordance with changes of its components. This is even more so in the case of Korea which was once under the military regime but is now civilian controlled by a government. Korea took a specific path to achieve its economic development by creating the chaebols, family-owned conglomerates. It can be said, therefore, that over the last three decades the soil was prepared for the power shift among the power blocs including the state, the chaebols and labour group. The power of the chaebols has grown from being dominated by the state in the 1960s to being more symbiotic with state power in the 1990s. The chaebols have carefully prepared the ground for this new relationship by consolidating their social networks in society. The thesis also examines the mass communication system, concentrating upon the way that shifting relationships between the major power groups impact on the mass media.