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
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.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.