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Title: Demystifying the developmental state : a critique of the theories and practices of the state in the development of capital relations in Korea
Author: Chang, Dae-oup
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2003
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My thesis aims to demystify the form of the Korean state by unveiling the theoretical shortcomings of developmental state theories and re-examining the historical development of the Korean state in the context of the formation and reproduction of capital relations in Korea. The first part develops a Marxist critique of theories of the developmental state. Through a close reading of Marxist theories of the state and Marx's own theory of value and commodity fetishism, I derive an understanding of the state as a differentiated moment of the reproduction of capital relations. Accordingly, I define the most serious theoretical shortcoming of the statist approach as its understanding of the state as a set of institutions and of capital as a set of businessmen. This approach enabled statist to define the state in East Asia as a state 'autonomous' from capital by deriving the form of the state from the nature of the seriously narrowed-down state-society relations as relations between state officials and a group of businessmen. On the basis of an understanding of capital as a social relation through which social labour is organised toward commodity production to make profits, and of the state as a social form through which unequal class relations are inverted into class-neutral relations between citizens, I argue that the developmental autonomy of the state, which underlies developmental state theory, results from a mystified form of the capitalist state and contributes to mystifying the state further. In the second half of this thesis, I present the Asian 'developmental state' as resulting from a particular mystification of the state in the historical development of the highly politicised formation and reproduction of capitalist social relations, in which the state's complementary role to capitalist development was maximised in suppressing labour, on the one hand, but also at the same time its differentiation from individual capitals in strictly regulating financial flows and selectively promoting industries developed to a great extent, on the other. An extensive investigation into the state's involvement in forming and reproducing capital relations in the 1960s and 1970s shows the real process of building-up the mystified state. Furthermore, I will show the demise of this mystified state through analysing crises of the politicised reproduction of capital relations, by a massive politicisation of domestic class conflicts, on the one hand, and the weakening of state control over individual capitals, particularly over the chaebol (Korean conglomerates) as capitalist development deepened in a growing involvement in the global economy from the 1980s, on the other. On the basis of this historical exposition, I also attempt to grasp the nature of the restructuring of capital relations in Korea in the aftermath of the Asian crisis in 1997, which is understood as an ultimate expression of the amalgamation of the crisis of the early configuration of capitalist social relations with the growing involvement of Korean capitals into the crisis-ridden development of global capitalism. Looking closely at the development of the increasing marketisation of the reproduction of capital relations, I argue that, although the form of the state has undergbne a significant transition, it is still subjected to the further development of new forms and subjectivity of class struggle, through which the unresolved contradiction of the newly created basis of capital accumulation manifested itself by putting the market-based reformulation of capital relations into an increasingly difficult condition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor