Social and Economic Policies in Korea: Ideas, Networks, and Linkages

Social and Economic Policies in Korea: Ideas, Networks, and Linkages

Social and Economic Policies in Korea: Ideas, Networks, and Linkages

Social and Economic Policies in Korea: Ideas, Networks, and Linkages

Synopsis

This work develops a unique explanation about the development of Korean social policy using the concepts of "policy idea, " "policy network, " and "policy-linkages" to examine the causes, patterns and consequences of state interventions in the economy and social affairs over time.

Excerpt

The role of the state in the economy has been a central issue in politics and social theory for centuries. the role of the state in social welfare has also been one of the most controversial matters in modern capitalist society since the end of World War ii. Almost everyone agrees that the modern state has a role to play in both areas, but there is little agreement as to when and how it should act. Perhaps the reason why there is such little agreement is that state interventions are complex and dynamic phenomena.

Nevertheless, there had been a broad consensus among Western industrialised countries until the early 1970s that universal social programmes were not only compatible with economic growth, but also helped to drive it. For the past two decades, however, the world has witnessed the fact that the combination of growing economic strain and maturing social programmes has created a harsh climate for the welfare state. It was apparent by the mid-1980s that the ‘modern’ welfare state created during the Golden Age of post-war expansion had reached an impasse (Myles and Pierson, 1997:443). Esping-Andersen (1999: ch. 6) has maintained that the compelling reasons for this ongoing shift can be explained under two labels: ‘globalisation’ and ‘de-industrialisation’ or ‘service economy’. That is to say, the role of the state will be constrained by changes in international markets as well as by domestic socio-economic structures. On my reading, more emphasis should be put on the impact of globalisation on the state’s role, since recent economic restructuring in most countries has been driven by the necessity for international competitiveness within the dynamics of increased economic integration in world markets.

In this chapter, I shall organise the discussion into three sections to make this complex topic manageable. in the first section, I shall explore the nature of globalisation in order to highlight the changes in international markets. in the second section, I shall examine the role of the state in the economy. in the third section, I shall discuss the role of the state in social welfare. They all involve not only normative perspectives, in that they suggest the ideal role of the state, but also analytical perspectives, in that they help us understand the role of the state constrained by changes in international markets.

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