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Reviews 231© 1994 by University ofHawai'i Press Thomas W. Robinson, editor. Democracy and Development in EastAsia: Taiwan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Washington, D. C: AEI Press, 1991. xi, 321 pp. Hardcover. $29.50. Democracy and Development in EastAsia, published in 1991, stemmed from a conference held at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D. C. in May 1988. That conference looked at the cases of Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines to see whether general conclusions could be drawn regarding the relationship between economic development and democratization. The examples of Korea and Taiwan appear to demonstrate a direct link between economic development and democratization. Both had experienced dramatic , export-led economic growth for nearly three decades prior to the democratization that occurred in the 1986-1988 period. Both also came from a Confucian cultural legacy and had authoritarian political traditions. Still, as the authors of the various chapters make clear, a host of factors in addition to economic development contributed importantly to their so-far successful democratization . Some of these factors—including tolerance of some level of opposition activity by the regime in power, equitable distribution of income, a rising middle class, and dramatic progress in education—were common to both. Others, such as Sun Yat-sen's endorsement of constitutional democracy as the ultimate goal of the Kuomintang (Taiwan) or the collapse of the traditional aristocracy during the Japanese colonial period (Korea) appear unique to one or the other. Moreover, while both Taiwan and Korea agreed on the need for land reform and for exportled industrial growth, they differed considerably in the policies they used to achieve these goals, with the Korean government generally having more influence over and being more willing to intervene in the workings of the economy. The Philippines appears the odd man out in the club of newly democratizing East Asian countries. On the economic front, the Marcos regime had led the nation in exactly the wrong direction: unemployment had soared, real incomes had declined for much of the populace, and the rate ofpoverty had increased considerably . Largely as a result of economic decline and political corruption, the Marcos regime was bedeviled by two insurrections. Within a few years ofMarcos' overthrow, the euphoria of the "people power" revolution was giving way to the realization that the traditional oligarchy still dominated the country's politics. Their continued dominance meant that the reforms needed to transform the society and jump-start the economy—in particular, meaningful land reform and a dismantling ofprotectionist barriers to trade and investment—appeared increasingly unlikely. Nevertheless, democracy continues to hang on in the Philippines, its resiliency explained partly by the Filipinos' long experience with, and attach- 232 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 ment to, the forms of democracy—and also partly by the continuing revulsion most feel toward the trauma that their country endured under the Marcos dictatorship . In examining difficult questions that cut across various intellectual disciplines , the book proves both timely and thought-provoking. In East Asia, those who would justify authoritarian rule in the name of economic development, including not only the rulers in Beijing but the former Prime Minister of Singapore, are on the offensive. These advocates of an East Asian model of development maintain that authoritarianism leads to economic efficiency and that East Asian societies are inherently inimical to liberal democracy. From the other end of the spectrum, advocates ofpeaceful evolution maintain that increasing trade and prosperity will inevitably lead to political liberalization, particularly in the PRC and Vietnam. This book makes it clear that such simple conclusions are unjustified by the historical record. Several of the chapters note that political stability plays an important role in economic development. At lower levels of economic development, some degree of authoritarianism might be useful in promoting stability. At higher levels of social and economic development, however, authoritarianism might actually undercut political stability. Jan S. Prbyla perhaps sums it up best: "a market system is a necessary condition of political freedom but not a sufficient condition. Political freedom is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of democracy. A market system can co-exist with authoritarianisms of various sorts, but the coexistence is uneasy: it...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 231-232
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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