Taiwan's Modernization in Global Perspective

By Peter C. Y. Chow | Go to book overview
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Taiwan’s Modernization: Its Achievements and Challenges

Peter C. Y. Chow

WHAT IS MODERNIZATION?

If modernity in any society could be defined as the increasing dominance of human beings over the natural environment, rather than the other way around, then modernization is a continual and indivisible dynamic process of socioeconomic and political progress. 1 Without getting into normative judgment on the merits and demerits of modernity versus tradition, one could argue that modernization is a multidimensional process in economic development, institutionalization of public participation (political process) and dynamic social mobility for both individuals and the society as a whole. As each human society is progressively moving ahead, its socioeconomic and political systems (superstructures, in Marxian terminology) have become more modernized in order to be compatible with the changing economic-technologic and societal-occupational complexes.

Having been trained as an economist, I should start with economic development, which is generally defined not just by the growth of per capita income in real term, but also by the transformation of economic structures. In spite of the chicken-egg debates on causality among economic development, social mobility, and political participation, it is fair to argue that many aspects of economic development are highly

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