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Explaining Development in South Korea and East Asia: A Review of the Last Dozen Years of Research Timothy C. Lim Amsden, Alice. 1989. Asia's Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization. New York: Oxford University Press. 379 pp. Cumings, Bruce. 1987. "The Origins and Development of the Northeast Asian Political Economy: Industrial Sectors, Product Cycles, and Political Consequences," in The Political Economy ofthe New Asian Industrialism, ed. by Frederic Deyo (Ithaca: Cornell University Press), pp. 4483 . [Originally published in International Organization 38 (Winter 1984): 45-83.] Haggard, Stephan. 1990. Pathwaysfrom the Periphery: The Politics ofGrowth in the Newly Industrializing Countries. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 276 pp. Hamilton, Clive. 1986. Capitalist Industrialization in Korea. Boulder: Westview Press. 193 pp. Johnson, Chalmers. 1982. MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth ofIndustrial Policy, 1925-1975. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 392 pp. Jones, Leroy, and Il Sakong. 1980. Government, Business, and Entrepreneurship in Economic Development: The Korean Case. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 302 pp. 172LIM Sakong, II. 1993. Korea in the World Economy. Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics. 302 pp. Woo, Jung-en. 1991. Race to the Swift: State and Finance in Korean Industrialization. New York: Columbia University Press. 280 pp. Introduction Theories on development have undergone several significant transformations since the end of World War II. In the 1950s and 1960s, "structuralist " theory, which was based on the premise that the state could and should play a large role in correcting the structural impediments that prevented markets from operating smoothly, was a predominant theme of development studies. Structuralism's ascendancy, though, was short-lived, largely because the import substituting industrialization (ISI) strategies that structuralism privileged did not lead to strong, viable economies in the Third World. Instead, "rent seeking" and woefully inefficient industries became the norm in many, if not all, developing nations that stuck to ISI strategies. The greatest blow to structuralism came, however, with the meteoric rise of the East Asian economies, whose success, at least ostensibly , was based on an outward (export-led) strategy, where private enterprise and market incentives were seemingly paramount. The East Asian "model" of Export-Oriented Industrialization (EOI) became, in many respects, a touchstone for a stream, in the mid-1970s, of neoclassical reinterpretations of development in the Third World. By the early 1980s, the revitalized neoclassical view, particularly of development in Korea and Taiwan, had not only shifted attention back to traditional concepts of market efficiency (and how this could be best achieved), but had undermined the notion that the state could play any constructive role in the economy—beyond providing "public goods." Yet, despite the growing influence of the neoclassical interpretation of East Asian economic "success," it never completely held sway over scholars from disciplines outside economics. On the one hand, questions concerning the role of the state would not go away. For most scholars, the pervasive nature of state involvement in, arguably, the most successful postwar economies—Japan, Korea and Taiwan—simply could not be ignored. But, "bringing the state back in" also provoked greater attention to other political dimensions of development—to state-society relations, to core-periphery relations and to geopolitics. Not surprisingly, then, a plethora of studies have come out, particularly over the last decade or so, that have directly challenged the most cherished assumptions of the neoclassical perspective. This study will look at a number of books and monographs that have REVIEW ARTICLE173 not only helped to rebut the neoclassical vision of East Asian growth, but have substantially enhanced our understanding of the development process in South Korea. The perspectives of these various studies, while not always in agreement, do carry a common theme: all recognize that "economic " development is an intrinsically political phenomenon. To varying degrees, most of the studies also recognize that the state plays a significant , if not critical, role. The emergence of this "new" wave of development literature, which is well represented by the books and articles under review here, has largely succeeded in cracking the neoclassical facade, although the debate has clearly not ended. Indeed, to a large extent, the parameters of the debate have simply been expanded. As was always true with the neoclassical perspective, many important questions remain...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1529
Print ISSN
0145-840X
Pages
pp. 171-202
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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