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Book Reviews243 after 1972, when public support began to dissipate, did such a response become increasingly necessary to maintain political power. Nor, however, can belief in a military threat from the north be dismissed out of hand. Surely both concerns for security were formidable forces in rallying public support for the Park regime. At least for this reviewer, the contributors also define human rights too narrowly, thereby tacitly presupposing a pervasively American ideological ideal. Human rights, as Chandra admits in the initial essay, constitute a long and varied list. To isolate almost exclusively those related to procedural due process and political reform — thus to ignore concern for economic and social welfare and the quality of community life — is to emphasize process over result. With per capita the largest number of persons in prison of any industrial nation in the world — double that of South Africa, number two on the list, and many times more than Korea — the United States should not claim too much for due process. Finally, although Shaw strives mightily to provide some theoretical underpinning, he and each of the other contributors fail to articulate a compelling rationale for their focus. Indeed, lost in the details of intellectual history and political events is any reference to economic change. Yet surely the postwar history of East Asia generally and Korea and Taiwan in particular provides persuasive evidence that human rights, especially constitutionally protected and judicially enforced politidal and procedural rights, are more likely to flourish in societies that manage to maintain a stable political regime and a growth-producing market-based economy. John O. Haley Law School, University of Washington Offspring of Empire: The Kochang Kims and the Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism, 1876-1945. By Carter J. Eckert. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991. ix-xv, 388. $35.00 Carter Eckert's Offspring of Empire is a stunning scholarly accomplishment. Using a broad array of sources, published and unpublished, in Korean and Japanese, and bolstered by personal interviews, Eckert's study provides a provocative revisionist 244Journal of Korean Studies interpretation of the origins of Korean capitalism, rooting its emergence firmly in the colonial period. In doing so, Eckert swims against the strong main current in the historiography of modern Korea that argues that a nascent Korean capitalism was crushed by the forces of Japanese monopoly capital after 1910. Eckert's thesis is that capitalism emerged after the 1876 opening of Korea spurred by structural changes in the market and that full-blown industrial capitalism appeared finally during the period of Japanese rule. Moreover, it developed dependently in the context of Japanese colonialism supported by more advanced Japanese capitalism and the authoritarian state. Therefore, Korean capitalism was politically unstable and dependent on the perpetuation of an authoritarian state. This thesis leads to a rethinking of the colonial legacy in Korea and provides a historical precedent with which to explain the strong linkages between political authoritarianism and post-war Korean economic development. In part 1, "The Rise of Korean Capitalism," Eckert presents his bold thesis, and in the course of his exposition he takes, on virtually every current shibboleth in the exploitation school of the economic history of Korea. Eckert counters the "sprouts" theory of indigenous capitalist development by asserting that capitalism as a system was imported to Korea after the opening of the ports in 1876 and describes this period as one of transition during which traditional landed wealth began to find new outlets in commerce. By focusing on his primary case study, the Kochang Kim family and their subsequent industrial empire, Eckert provides a compellingly detailed analysis of how one wealthy landlord family reacted to shifting market forces and new entrepreneurial opportunities during this period. While the kaekchu and Kaesöng merchants formed a part of the emerging capitalist class by the end of the period, landlord elements were also important. In short, merchant and landlord capital provided the basis for an emerging Korean bourgeoisie after 1876, but the shift to industrial capitalism cannot be linked to traditional commercial roots. In chapter 2, Eckert asserts that the decisive break came after a decade of Japanese rule. A new generation of entrepreneurs, changed economic conditions, and altered colonial economic...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1665
Print ISSN
0731-1613
Pages
pp. 243-247
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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