Discussion Questions / Politics 140dNote: “##” indicates a question that can and should be answered in some depth, suitable for an essay question on the midterm or final.
Thursday, January 28, 2016 — Benefits and Problems of Democratization
Here, we start to consider the two broad questions below; as the course goes on, we will continue to learn more about them.
## Korea and Taiwan are generally considered successful cases of democratic transition and consolidation. What benefits has democratization brought to the politics and people of Korea and Taiwan?
## At the same time, the process of political transition has been complex and, at times, troubled and fraught. What problems of democratization do we see in Korea and Taiwan from the 1990s to the present day? Think about issues like transitional justice, corruption, the instability of political parties, political polarization, and the question of whether state institutions have been thoroughly or only superficially democratized — as well as any others that you find.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 — Democratization
## The overarching questions here are simple, though the answers are not: Why and how did South Korea democratize? Why and how did Taiwan democratize?
## In both cases, authoritarian leaders tried to keep elections under control, yet elections were an important part of the democratization process. How?
Regarding South Korea:
What were key moments and turning points in South Korea’s democratization process?
Why did the country’s military leaders agree to democratize?
What was minjung (??, ??)?
What was the role of external factors, including the United States and the Olympics?
What were key moments and turning points in Taiwan’s democratization process? (There were many; recall that Taiwan’s transition was gradual.)
Describe major figures and events in Taiwan’s opposition (dangwai, ??) movement from the 1950s through the 1980s.
What did Chiang Ching-kuo do that helped bring about democratization? What about Lee Teng-hui?
What is the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, ?????), and how was it a part of democratization?
What was the role of external factors, including the United States and China?
Thursday, January 21, 2016 — Authoritarianism
## In this session we’re taking a look at the authoritarian systems in post-World War II South Korea and Taiwan. They are seen as both politically repressive and economically successful, laying the foundation for the development that (as seen in the last class) characterized these two countries. What was the nature of authoritarian rule in these two countries?
## Governance in both these countries was largely authoritarian in nature until the mid to late 1980s. Yet in both cases there were some elements (or trappings) of democracy: certain kinds of elections, a political opposition, even opposition parties (in Korea), laws, etc. How did those things coexist with authoritarianism? Did they constrain the leadership in serious ways?
Byung-Kook Kim, “Labyrinth of Solitude: Park and the Exercise of Presidential Power,” (2011)
Byung-Kook Kim is a leading Korean political scientist. The chapter we read came out of a recent scholarly volume that he edited reexamining Park Chung Hee’s 18 years in power (1961-1979). What arguments is he advancing here? What do we learn about Park Chung Hee as a person and a leader, and about the circumstances in which he ruled?
Kim describes Park as an “institution-builder,” something that cannot be said of all authoritarian leaders; what does he say about the KCIA, the Blue House, and economic planning organizations?
What was “yushin” in Korea?
Shelley Rigger, pp. 55–93 of Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy (1999)
How did Sun Yat-sen’s ideology and the Republic of China constitution contain some provisions for democracy, and how were they overridden during the authoritarian period?
Explain the nature and structure of the Kuomintang (KMT, ???) during the authoritarian period; how did it maintain control? Explain “party-state corporatism,” a means through which organizations were kept until control.
In the period from 1945-1972, how did the KMT use elections (ostensibly a means of giving the citizens some degree of control over the state) as a way of shoring up its single-party control through “mobilizational authoritarianism”?
Who was (or still is) a “tiau-a-ka” (??) and what role did they play in the system?
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 — Economic Development
## The overarching question on this topic that we want to be able to answer is: how was it that East Asian countries achieved rapid economic development in the decades following World War II? As the readings indicate, there is no single or simple answer to this question. We need to consider multiple factors and complex, dynamic patterns of development.
## To what extent is there an “East Asian Model” of economic development? What factors did Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have in common?
What do these three cases not have in common? In other words, in what ways is each country at least somewhat distinctive in its approach to the economy?
According to neoclassical economic theory, states should promote stability, protect property rights, encourage markets, and otherwise get out of the way. The East Asian experience is often seen as a challenge to this perspective. How has the state taken an active and engaged role in promoting economic development in these three cases? To put it slightly differently: What have “developmental states” in this region done, in practice?
What has been been the experience of labor in East Asian development?
As the readings show, it is not the case that East Asian countries introduced a set of economic policies after World War II and froze them in place forever after. Rather, we see adaptation to changing circumstances — how? Explain how policies have been dynamically updated over time as domestic and international conditions evolve.
Gregory Noble, “Industrial Policy in Key Developmental Sectors: South Korea versus Japan and Taiwan” (2011)
This article is well-suited for our learning purposes, for several reasons. It is built around a comparison among our three primary cases. It addresses this session’s key questions. Also, by zooming in on two specific industrial sectors (steel and autos), it gives us more detail than we get from big-picture macroeconomic overviews.
What is the argument of this piece? Which one or two sentences best encapsulates that argument?
In what ways did the three cases differ from one another, and in what ways were they similar? How did the development of the steel sector differ from the auto sector?
Some of the empirical information about blast furnaces and 1.5-liter engines is interesting but you can read this piece in large part for the major theme of what the role of the state was in promoting economic development. It is visible here in many forms: policies, strategies, initiatives, state ownership of certain businesses, etc.
Thursday, January 14, 2016 — States
Benjamin I. Schwartz, “The Primacy of the Political Order in East Asian Societies” (1985)
What exactly does Schwartz argue in this essay?
Is he arguing that East Asian political systems have been totalitarian? Why or why not?
AtulKohli, “Where Do High Growth Political Economies Come From? The Japanese Lineage of Korea’s ‘Developmental State’”
What is Kohli’s argument? (Note that there are multiple strands to it.)
How does Kohli characterize the state during the Choson (Yi) dynasty? How did the Japanese transform the state?
Through what means did the colonial state promote rapid economic development?
What is a “developmental state”?
What are the implications of the argument for other countries that might be interested in learning from Korea’s experience?
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 — Origins of the Asian Order
## Overarching question: How did the United States, the Soviet Union, the outcome of World War II, and domestic political forces in the late 1940s and early 1950s shape the basic post-war structure of international and domestic politics in East Asia?
Hayes, all of Ch 2
Explain and characterize the U.S.-led Allied occupation of Japan (1945–1952). What were its effects? How did the goals of the occupation change over time, and why? What can be seen as the occupation’s achievements and its problems or shortcomings*?
Explain the most important aspects of the 1947 constitution.
Michael Edson Robinson, chapter 5, “Liberation, Civil War, and Division”
What was the reason for the U.S. occupation of Korea, and what were its effects?
Why was Korea divided between north and south after World War II?
Why did the Korean War happen, and what were its effects?
Who was Syngman Rhee?
Copper, part of Ch 2 (pp. 41–51)
How did Taiwan come under the control of Chiang Kai-shek and the Republic of China? What was the relationship between the island’s inhabitants and the mainlanders who arrived during the Chinese civil war?
What is the significance of February 28, 1947 (2-2-8, ???)?
* In considering a question like this in particular, bear in mind the perceptions of different groups of people who were involved or who might look at this issue. There can be no one single answer.
Thursday, January 7, 2016 — Historical Background
## Overarching question: What concepts, structures, and ideas from history are most important in shaping the post-World War II politics of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan?
Hayes, all of chapter 1, “General History”
## Compare Japan’s encounter with the West (in the 19th century and before) with that of other non-Western areas. Why was Japan not colonized or otherwise subjugated? How did Japan respond to the West?
What powers did Japan’s emperor have, historically? How did the position of the emperor evolve over time?
What were the most important political institutions and forces in Japan in the Meiji era (1868-1912) and in the first half of the 20th century?
To what extent did Japan have a form of representative or democratic government at any time prior to the 1950s? What were limits on democracy under the 1889 constitution and in the Taisho (1912-1926) era?
What were the various reasons why Japan pursued expansionist, militaristic policies starting in the late 1800s and accelerating in the 1930s?
Michael Edson Robinson, chapter 2, “Colonial State and Society”
Robinson describes Japanese colonial administration as “rigid, highly intrusive.” What are examples of this?
How did the Japanese change Korea?
What was significant about March 1, 1919?
To what extend did Japan achieve “cultural control” and at least partially assimilate the Korean population into Japanese ways?
## How would you characterize Korea’s experience under Japanese colonization, overall?
Copper, part of Ch 1 (pp. 1–18); part of Ch 2 (pp. 30–41)
## Copper tells the history of Taiwan with an eye toward explaining what aspects of this history have to do with China (or involve some link to China) and what aspects are unrelated to China and must be understood in their own terms. What are the most important events and factors in each of these two categories? Why does this matter?
Who was Cheng Ch’eng-kung (ZhengChenggong???, also known as Koxinga???), and how was he important?
Explain the story behind each of the main groups involved in the settling of Taiwan: aboriginals, Fujianese (Hoklo), Hakka, and “mainlanders.”
## How would you characterize Taiwan’s experience under Japanese colonization?