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POS350 Week 9 Notes 10

by: Alexandria Paterson

POS350 Week 9 Notes 10 POS350

Alexandria Paterson
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WEEK 9! This set of notes covers the East Asian economic situation and their ability to develop compared to countries in the rest of the world due to their history. Includes info on the Cold War, ...
Comparative Politics
Class Notes
notes, Politics, Comparative Politics, Global Comparative Politics, ASU, POS350
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alexandria Paterson on Tuesday October 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POS350 at Arizona State University taught by Koehler in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see Comparative Politics in Humanities and Social Sciences at Arizona State University.

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Date Created: 10/04/16
POS 350 Tuesday, October 4 th[Week 9 Notes 10] Background - In 1950, both Taiwan and South Korea were poorer than: Kenya, Ghana, Romania, Turkey, Morocco, etc. - At the same time, Japan was poorer than: Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Greece, Hungary, South Africa, etc. - By 1970 Taiwan and South Korea had increased their GDP’s by over 300% becoming richer than most developing countries - Japan had become one of the largest economies in the word with a per capita income of ~70% of the United States’. - By 1992, Taiwan’s per capita GDP broke the $10,000 mark - South Korea achieved the same feat in 1995 - By 2005, Taiwans per capita GDP rose to almost $28,000 and South Koreas’ rose to more than $20,000 - Between 1965 and 1996, East Asia’s economic growth outpaced the rest of the world’s Why is East Asia Rich? - Today many important and high tech goods come from East Asia - Cars, high-end consumer electronics etc. - Before developing, products stamped with “Made in Japan,” for instance, were seen as low quality and inferior to American goods. - Now Japan leads the world in many industries - East Asian economies have grown greatly since the end of WWII Historical Factors - Important to all three theoretical explanations of East Asia’s economic success - Factors include: Confucian Culture, Western (and Japanese) Colonialism - The Cold War and East Asian countries’ “special” relationship with the US Confucianism - Common to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan Some importance aspects include: - Principles of governmental morality - Respect for elders - High regard for education - Righteousness and social virtue - Self-sacrifice Colonialism - Generally associated with the West - The practice of usurping the sovereignty of and militarily dominating weaker societies in order to exploit their natural resources, cheap labor, and markets (to sell goods) - Japan also engaged in this behavior, for a time dominating Korea, Taiwan and parts of China - We shouldn’t treat any of these factors too simplistically - Arguing that “colonialism” wither led to or prevented economic development in a country doesn’t really tell us much - We need to know specifics - What specific aspects of colonialism might have been important? Colonialism in East Asia - Precipitated significant social, institutional and economic changes - It destroyed/undermined old power structures, giving rise to highly centralized/strong states - It enabled the rise of a new, very powerful class of capitalists with close ties to the state - It introduced new modes of production and economic organization The Cold War - After the end of WWII (and in the post-colonial age), Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan were seen as anti-communist allies - This was important for many reasons such as balancing against the Soviet Union and as Economic Markets Rational Choice Explanation: - To start, what is unique or unusual about Japan, South Korea and Taiwan? - There are many possibilities, but one glaring feature stands out: the presence of very strong, effective states **Remember from our discussion of poverty and poor countries** - Some rationalists argue that Strong States are necessary for economic development - They can compel individuals to contribute to collective/public goods and can implement economic policies conducive to growth  Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were what we would today call Developmental States (not to be confused with “developing” states (i.e. the Third World)) In addition to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan having Strong States  What made those in power decide to implement policies to secure public goods and pursue economic development?  Why was it in their interest to do so?  Instead of engaging in self-serving corruption? In each of the 3 countries: - Political Legitimacy was strongly tied to National Economic Development - Staying in power was contingent upon maintaining broad support and cooperation and doing so by improving the economics - Leaders felt a strong sense of vulnerability Japan - Japan had a history of vulnerability extending back to the 19 centuryth due to unfair interactions with the West and, particularly, the US - This led its leaders to mobilize and undertake industrialization and develop the capacity to stand up the West - Eventually led Japan to engage in colonialism within East Asia - Japan sought to play the same game as the west - After WWII and US military imposed democracy - Japan’s leaders became directly accountable to the people - Thus, this added a new aspect to the historic vulnerability Japan’s leaders felt - The combined desire to pursue nationalist economic development as well as keep the population happy (with economic development and prosperity) In South Korea and Taiwan - Colonization at the hands of Japan led to an immense sense of vulnerability - After WWII, China and North Korea also presented external threats. - Both countries faced strong political opposition parties - Thus, to keep power, leaders had to deliver the “economic goods” to the citizens of the country - All three cases had very strong states - Their leaders, largely due to fears of vulnerability, had rational incentives to pursue national economic development - The governments in these three cases are often described as being highly interventionist in their own domestic economics Cultural Explanation: - Avoid simplistic cultural explanations! - Confucianism, for example is important to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. - Some argue that maybe this similarity explains these three countries’ economic development - But a detailed look at Confucianism in each society shows that it influenced things differently in each case The “old Confucian” argument - East Asian countries emphasized self-sacrifice, moral governance, deference to the government, respect for elders, and, very importantly, education - This led to amazing economic development - Sounds reasonable- but this explanation is overly generic (and superficial, unidirectional, etc.) Pre-war Japan: Confucianism successfully used by political and economic elite to create a new national culture, one that made capitalist development a patriotic and moral duty - Encouraged self-sacrificing behavior on part of citizens/workers - Allowed extraordinarily rapid mobilization of resources, large scale investment and dramatic increases in output - Justified (in the minds of workers’ themselves) repression of labor rights, low wages, long hours, and generally oppressive working conditions Postwar Japan: Confucianism played similar, but different role bases on fairness and harmony (wa), which inspired the Japanese to work “cooperatively, conscientiously, and with a (single) will” But in Taiwan - Confucianism was not successfully embedded in larger society; instead, it inspired an anti-Confucian backlash, a rejection of Confucian values that led to development of “counter-culture” based on “heterodox” values - Inspired self-serving behavior and rejection of authority; this is evident in the large number of smaller firms/businesses - Created basis for a free-wheeling, hypercompetitive domestic market - Encouraged development small/medium sizes businesses/enterprises (SMSEs) within a country So while Confucian culture was important in both cases It was important for opposite reasons In Taiwan, it actually led to a backlash against Confucianism and traditional values Structural Explanation: - We shouldn’t just look at internal or domestic factors in explaining East Asia’s economic development - Must consider the bigger picture that each fits into Global Capitalism - Structuralists tell us that the system-wide dynamics of global capitalism are far more determinative of national economic success than culture, strong states, or a ration domestic economic environment - We need to identify the dynamics, logic, and “needs” of global capitalism - Identify the position and role of the various units (countries, such as the system as a whole) - Identify the position and role of the various units in relation the dominant units (the hegemon) namely, the US - Finally, consider the attributes of individual units (for example, consider whether the individual unites have “strong states”) World Systems Theory explanation - Basic logic: Capitalism is driven by the constant need for accumulation and expansion; to do this, capitalism requires strong centers (and inequality) throughout the globe - Role of Units in System: Hegemon requires to police and stabilize system; certain “core” units are needed to serve as regional centers of capitalism, and each core requires subordinate units to maximize capital accumulation; these subordinate units are part of the semi- periphery or periphery - Role of Units in Relation to Dominant Unit: Close relationship to dominant unit (the hegemon) ensures economic stability and growth; if subordinate units occupy favorable position in the global system, this relationship may be key - Individual (state-level) attributes: Can play a marginally important role in the developmental path as a system occasionally “allows” subordinate units to take advantage of opportunities for upward mobility Hegemony - The Hegemon’s (global or regional power’s) actions allow what would otherwise be subordinate units to “move up” economically or militarily - Thus, the Cold War Compelled the US to build a center of capitalism in East Asia and allow/invite countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to develop Criticism of this explanation - All three cases did develop, but did so differently - Also, while they were “chosen” for development, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all became strong competitors to and economic rivals of the US and US domestic economic interests in many ways


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