Democratic and Economic Development in Asian Countries

Subject: Politics & Government
Pages: 13
Words: 3457
Reading time:
12 min
Study level: College

Democratization in South Korea and Taiwan

Taiwan and Korea are among the countries where transition from authoritarianism to democracy occurred through a gradual process. The two countries are claimed to have undergone the process at the same period of time. There are factors that are promoted democracy in the two countries (No Name para. 7). Some of the factors are alike to both countries while some are unique to a specific country. The aim of this essay is to identify and illuminate the factors that enhanced the democratization process both in Taiwan and Korea (Wang 114).

Administrative, social, educational and economic progress under the Japanese authority

South Korea and Taiwan were colonized by Japan. As part of its imperialism policy, Japanese imperialists concentrated in making both South Korea and Taiwan theoretical colonies since it was the only way through which Japan would prove to the western nations that they had already embraced modernization. This way, Japanese imperialists established dictatorial systems that were supported by profound military forces (No Name para. 8).

They also ensured that diseases were alleviated and also ensured substantial betterment in public health in Taiwan and South Korea. This helped to mitigate the level of mortality in Taiwan in the period between 1906 and 1940. Hence, these developments contributed much in the process of democratization in Japan and South Korea (Wang 124).

Improved level of education in South Korea and Taiwan by the Japanese Imperialists and the dictatorial regimes that arose in the post-war period

The Japanese colonial administration improved the system of education in Taiwan and South Korea when helped a large number of people in the respective countries to benefit from the education (Wang 211). In the period between 1917 and 1940 the number of Taiwanese and Koreans who got educated escalated significantly. However, in Taiwan, the form of education that was being offered established an identity to different people from different communities who could not communicate due to different cultural background (No Name para. 10). It was as a result of this education that the level of enlightenment among the Taiwanese and Korean that facilitated the growth of groups and political movements that advocated for liberation or independence and continuously fought against Japanese domination during 1920s (Wang 108).

Knowledge of Electoral practices under the Japanese imperialism and post-war totalitarian command

The Taiwanese and Southern Koreans learned much on how to handle electoral issues from the Japanese imperialism and the dictatorial governments that arose after the war. In both countries, despotic regimes and the Japanese administration offered citizens very limited knowledge on how to undertake voting processes, even though the election procedures never seemed to compromise the ruling governments.

Local elections were common in Taiwan, but very few central government elections. In Southern Korea however, elections at the local level were banned in 1961and the dominant regime continued to control the state elections. The level of awareness of how to conduct elections among the citizens of the two countries increased and numerous people in both nations advocated for comprehensive reforms in the electoral processes before the process of democratization could be ensued (Copper 21).

The increase in financial affluence due to the increased parity

The growing success or prosperity based on socio-economic potential and the increased level of parity in these nations played a vital role in democratizing these countries. According to numerous theorists, the middle category in these countries contributed much in the process. Arguing from my standpoint, the growth in the economic level characterised by bettered prospects for the future and equal platforms in the society becomes very vital while practising democracy. The totalitarian government/regime system in the two nations facilitated development with at least some decline in the inequality level between the privileged and the less-privileged in the society which also given high levels of economic platforms and social mobility (Kil and Moon 19).

Relationships between the government and the opposition

The process of democratization was also harnessed by the connections that existed between the government officials and the opposing movements and groups that were observed in both Taiwan and South Korea. In Southern Korean, however, these connections were not as obvious as they were pronounced in Taiwan (Joseph 63). In connection to this, there were some apparent networks between the despots and their antagonists in both countries. For instance, though there existed bodies to control the electoral issues, political parties from the opposition side got a reasonable number of positions in the legislature during the dictatorial period.

Political pressure in America

This is another factor that seriously contributed to the adoption and institutionalization of democracy in Taiwan and Korea South was the political stain that was experienced in America. Precisely, the U.S. was in the forefront to fight against the despotic regimes in Korea as well as in Taiwan with an aim to better the application of human rights (No Name para. 13). The pressure from the American government on the Taiwanese and South Korean leaders encouraged the opposition in these countries to go on fighting for democracy (Wang 129).

President Marcos’ downfall

The unexpected downfall of Marcos Ferdinand of Philippine helped to disseminate power from the hands of the uncouth despots to the majority by introduction of egalitarianism. The fall of Ferdinand surprised and indeed scared many dictators in Asia including in South Korea and Taiwan, hence the collapse of Marco’s regime facilitated the process of finding democracy in both nations (Wang 137).

Some liberal elites among the top government officials in Taiwan

In Taiwan, some people among the top leaders in the country participated in the fight against authoritarian form of governance. Since many people in Taiwan had benefited from the education services that were offered by the colonial government, the number of elites in the country increase significantly. This included some people in the leadership position and who influenced others to unite and fight for democracy in the country. Also, the peaceful opposition advocating for democracy succeed in portraying how power is not supposed to be held by one person, but should be distributed among all members of the country. Finally, the role played by common groups and activities executed by interest groups, which to an extent promoted the advocacy of democracy in Taiwan (Kil and Moon 21).

Major Characteristics of Asian Economic Model

In the study of East Asian political and economic issues, three main features are identified. These features are: Corporatist state of development, Economic growth tactic based on exports and thirdly state intervention and policy. Countries such as Japan and China have engaged into a corporatist state of development. In this state a nation is expected to intrude into individual businesses economic function which contains a number of policies to ensure national policy for industrialization is promoted. Export-based growth signifies foreign competition due to the opening of the local markets to access other markets across the globe (No Name para. 16).

Greater Economic Success among East Asian Nations

Countries from the Eastern region of Asian are known for their strong economic development. The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the main reasons why countries in the Eastern part of Asia have greatly succeeded in terms of economic development compared to other countries especially in the developing world such as African Countries. It seems that the model of economic development embraced by the East Asian nations has been the main drive of the success since the early 60s.

According to speculations made by many scholars and analysts, the economic growth that was noted in the Eastern Asian region, particularly in China, a few years ago might have decoupled from the development in the United States. However, the presupposition was firstly considered premature or inaccurate since it was not imaginable.

Even though most part of the region was afterwards able to swiftly convalesce, due to inadequacy of direct subjection to economic downfalls, this appeared possible to be short-term since they continued to rely on other stronger nations, especially U.S. for financial support. In addition, in the period between short-run and long-term the Eastern Asia society is speculated to encounter a number of extraneous constraints when it comes to creation of more balanced macroeconomic regimes which will be indispensable in the post crisis situation (Carpenter 51).

A major aspect of the economic model embraced by the Eastern Asian regions seem to revolve around use of social networks rather than to seeking economic gain in an attempt to synchronize economic production. Though the approach has proved its effectiveness in formation of superior production potentials, monetary institutions would not be on the success path not unless bigger current deposits superfluous are retained to offer adequate flow of cash so as to preclude situations that would compel borrowing from the international markets (Joseph 45).

Secondly, the model of economic development embraced by Eastern Asia counties such as China is clearly incompatible with the dominant worldwide economic systems or regimes (No Name para. 29). This was the main reason why increased hardship was noted which included the stagnation of Japan in the 90s, the 1997 economic recession that was experienced in Asia and the subsequent effort that nations across Eastern Asia showed in an attempt to amass huge reserves for foreign exchange which would guarantee security against future economic perils. The industrial policy embraced by economies of the Eastern Asian region is another development tactic.

After a period of groundwork by the national planning committee, industrial measures in the Eastern Asian region started to form. Consequently, industrial measures for automobile sector and those for water industry were propagated on the grounds of the summary of industrial policy. Industrial policies embraced in China are categorized into two. They are, policies that concern industrial organization and secondly policies aimed at readjustment of the industries.

However, the policy concerning readjustment of the industry is normally emphasized. The policy is normally emphasized because of the heritage China has held for long in terms of strong industrial infrastructure and planned economy. Developmental nations from East Asian region have ensued from import replacement to the endorsement of labour-exhaustive industrial sector to investment-exhaustive form of industry that operates concomitantly with industrialization that focuses on intense industry. Conversely, China has already established a strong and intense industrial sector, of which the most significant agenda is readjustment.

Unlike the other developing countries, countries from the East part of Asia have been the fastest growing over the past few decades. According to numerous policy makers and economists, measures that seem to promote candidness to global markets are most probable to be beneficial to development. This agreement has partly been formed by the sharply diverse encounters of Latin America and East Asian (Rozman 115).

The Chinese government provided support to the companies in accordance to their prosperity in the market position and in particular global markets. It can be said that policymakers tried all their best to evade any form of temptation which could lead to directing of resources resulting to subsidizing of loss-making corporations. Further, all exporters from Eastern Asia had fairly unified inducements for exporting across almost all activities and sectors, with a wide range of levels of import hindrances.

According to observers, the prosperity in terms of export could closely be associated with prosperous attempts to avert an exaggerated rate of exchange than to the overt effect of subsidies. Therefore, with this form of strategic plan and economic development theoretical and practical approach, the Eastern Asia region was able to pick in terms of development based on international economies.

Theories of security in the East Asian region

There are three major theoretical schools of thought employed in the studies of security matters in East Asia. They include Realism, Liberalism and Neo-liberal institutionalism. However, the roots of the contemporary conventional model of security can be traced to Classical Realism. This theory perceives the global system as anarchic and takes the prime priority of institutions within it to be self-defence and the varied potentials and resources to be facilitators of self-protection.

In many cases, U.S. has formed coalitions or alliances with other supportive institutions and systems with the eventual goal being self-protection. Theory of safety that is grounded on classical realism is inherently state level safety model and views the government as the principal agent of foreign links and its self-aid skills as critical to its existence (Wang 337).

‘Structural realism’ is among the sprains in Neo-realism. In a nation where the key goal is self-defence, the key puzzles concern the number of powers in existence in the global system, the way in which the power is disseminated, and how to differentiate the powers that are allies and which ones are opponents or threats. For the international system to be stable, a consensus between the two major influence centres becomes very necessary. This can only be achieved through self-help, allies and global partners (Zhao 671).

There exist various types of traditional liberalism. Commercial liberalism model is widely known for its advocacy for peace and success via the expansion of fair and liberal trades and economies. On the other hand, Republican liberalism is a popular theory that propounds that in a democratic nation the rights of the citizens are central and must be honoured. The model advocates for a system that will maintain healthy connection with other systems of democracy (Zhao 669).

Sociological liberalists focus on the two main concepts of communal coexistence and inter-reliance. The model holds that governments intensify inter-reliance and acquaintance links via exchange and market and develop global partnership that goes beyond national borderlines and results to creation of nonviolent global village (No Name para. 36).

Application of neoliberal institutionalization has occurred in institutions for worldwide markets or commerce and safeguarding of the ecology. This is so because the model itself is readily empirical to topic-field in which numerous nations have the same goals or interests. This is mean that every state has an expectation to greatly benefit from global commerce and institutions to defend to defend the environment through behaving in a suitable and anticipated manner (Wang 340).

Features of Asian security in the post-Cold War

The economic conflict (cold war) between the Soviet Union and the United States became the focal point in regards to the issue of security since the end of world wars. After the world wars, many nations in Asia fought for liberation and security issues in the region which lead to a new post-cold war epoch. This was an exciting era, which was full of possibilities and optimism. Asian countries had previously hoped for the possibility to execute joint safety programs after the exclusion of the suspicion and the ravage of the duo stand-off. Whole categories of nuclear armaments were excluded and other weapons taken-off alert. Since then, the issue of security in Asia has been worrying (Wang 336). The U.S. has been targeting Asian countries and criticizing the production of nuclear weapons.

Kinds of foreign policy that U.S. should embrace toward China

According to veteran observers of China, it is difficult to determine the precise kind of foreign policy that Chinese government would have embraced would it be egalitarian. There are two broad perspectives into the issue (Zhao 678). Realist perspective being one of the views holds that it could not have caused a major difference.

According to the view, governments search for power and influence which in turn would guarantee them safety (Wang 334). It is from this dimension that the behaviour of the Chinese is seen to rely on influence or power rather than its political system. For instance just consider the case where China has recently abandoned the inconspicuous foreign policies and gone for another one that guaranteed more influence (Zhao 673). This can be attributed to the growth in terms of power and not the change of political systems in China.

The role of the United States in East Asia

America is known to be an influential nation. We may be able to understand the way American power function by pointing out the influence into two major elements –agential aspects and structural aspects (Wang 343). Despite the fact that the two are strongly related jointly constitutive factors, it becomes very important to separate the varied features linked with each one of them so as to obtain a more apparent understanding of the nature of power and influence America holds (Zhao 665). It is only the nations that have achieved economic superiority that is capable of claiming a concomitant power over the foreign system; therefore, it is important to note how these drives have operated and the reasons for their strong influence on East Asia (No Name para. 52).

China as a U.S. strategic partner

When Bush was campaigning for presidency, he strongly criticized the engagement of the U.S. and China which was an essential Clinton’s policy. According to Bush, it would be improper for the U.S. to look upon China as its strategic partner, but instead, he perceived China as its strategic competitor. The U.S. experienced a number of heated opinions during Bush governance as well as increasing the quantity of arms sold to Taiwan for the purpose of self-security. These proposed options both seemed to show a revised strategic connection between U.S. and China. The U.S. government then with immediate effect ended all agreements that existed between the Chinese military and the Pentagon (Carpenter 56).

From a personal viewpoint, it would be very unreasonable to conclude that China has already turned away from being a U.S. strategic rival/competitor to becoming s Security/strategic partner in spite of the obvious current epoch of commitment and cooperation between the two governments/nations. Although the effects of 9/11 on global and East Asia safety goes on, the attack has not essentially changed the form of the China-U.S. tactic linkage. Supportive efforts in regional and worldwide security matters are still restricted and are all grounded on the realist ideas of both countries national interests (Wang 340).

Important factors that might be more significant in shaping the US-China connections in the Long-term

Factors that contribute to potential partnership

  • Nations chose to be partners in order to facilitate mutual understanding between them.
  • Nations may decide to be allies so as to reinforce their global governance systems based on rules
  • Alliances also become of great significance since they promote security both at local and global level.
  • Partnership may also help to promote honour for law, including the rights of people.
  • Finally, strategic partnership between nations is considered to promote social and economic sustainability.

Factors that contribute to potential competitors

  • Economic competition: the fight for economic dominance amongst nations may make them strategic competitors.
  • Militarism: this is a glorified armed power or capability in terms of weapon and a belief in militia war as the only genuine remedy to international disagreements. Due to this factor, it is most likely that nations will compete for dominance and status at the global level.

The issue regarding the relationship of China and the United States due to economic reasons has become a pronounced feature of the current debates. China has currently emerged to be one of the major stakeholders in the global affairs, especially due to its economic position. These developments have led to eruption of controversial debates in the U.S. on how to face the challenge. It is not just an easy task to figure out a prosperous policy for China. However, it becomes of importance to note that any viable strategy must always emanate from somewhere. Hence, how best the U.S. can penetrate into the Chinese economy has not been a simple task to the U.S. economic strategists (Zhao 674).

The key determining factors in the relationship between the U.S. and China include: whether the United States will accept to set a priority with the citizens of China. This should contribute to the PRC fusion into the international community and acts as a yardstick for the relationship. The priorities should be focused in the fields of economic connections and growth, national security and the law. Secondly, an area of common concern with China needs to be established by the U.S., even as problems concerning the relationship go on to grow (Zhao 680).

Also, China will be required to table their position when the decrees that influence its concerns are resorted. China was not a partisan in the world wars that occurred in the previous century to establish or ensure national or regional safety arrangements. Finally, the United States needs to do extensive consultations with their Asian and European allies about their relationship with China (Wang 338). The U.S. will have to be backed by the Asian and European allies in order to establish a set of institutions and norms that will administer the interactions between America and China in the global issues (No Name para. 54)

Works Cited

Carpenter, Ted. “Managing a Great Power Relationship: The United States, China, and East Asian Security.” The Journal of Strategic Studies, 21.1(1998): 21-71. Print.

Copper, John. Taiwan: Nation-State or Province? New York: West-view, 1999. Print.

Joseph, Jauhsieh. Taiwan’s Democratization: Forces behind the New Momentum. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1995. Print.

Kil, Soong and Moon, Chung-in. Understanding Korean Politics. Albany: SUNY Press, 2001. Print.

No Name 2012, “Psc 411 Taiwan and Korea Lecture Notes: Land and people”, Retrieved from Psc. 411 Lecture Notes, No School Name, No Website name.

Rozman, Gilbert. The East Asian Region: Confucian Heritage and Its Modern Adaptation. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991. Print.

Wang, James. Comparative Asian Politics: Power, Policy, and Change. New York: Prentice Hall, 1994. Print.

Zhao, Quansheng. “China and Major Power Relations in East Asia.” Journal of Contemporary China, 10.29 (2001): 663-681. Print.