Taiwan and South Korea: The "Democratization" of Outlier States

By Eberstadt, Nicholas | World Affairs, Fall 1992 | Go to article overview

Taiwan and South Korea: The "Democratization" of Outlier States


Eberstadt, Nicholas, World Affairs


To the outside world, Taiwan and South Korea seem to look very much alike. Students of comparative politics or international development tend to mention the two countries in a single breath, almost interchangeably It is perhaps easy to see why this should be the case. Though the Republic of China (ROC) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are separate states presiding over ethnically distinct East Asian populations (and actually no longer even recognize one another diplomatically), the defining moments in their postwar evolutions have closely coincided, and their responses to the fundamental challenges facing them have in many respects been similar. Irrespective of whether one analyzes events through the prism of "world-historical time" or some less elaborate framework, the ROC and the ROK tend to be viewed conjointly because big developments seem to keep pushing them into one another's company.

Both the ROC and the ROK, to begin, are governments of divided nations; claiming sovereignty over the entirety of their people and locked into bitter struggle with rival Communist regimes that prevent them from unifying their rule. Both states have been beneficiaries of strong and longstanding security ties to the United States; in fact, without U.S. military intervention or support in the early years of the cold war, it seems unlikely that either state would currently exist. Both countries were impoverished at the end of World War II, and became highly dependent upon U.S. foreign aid for the better part of the following two decades. In the early 1960s, both states turned to outward-looking economic policies; results in both countries were similarly spectacular. By 1990, the foreign trade of these two countries (with a combined population of about 63 million) exceeded that of the entire Latin American and Caribbean region (with its total population of well over 400 million).(1) Under export-led growth regimens, moreover, both states enjoyed exceptional tempos of material advance. Between 1965 and 1990, for example, real per capita output in both Taiwan and South Korea more than quintupled.(2) One might say that the ROC and the ROK were "outliers" together throughout the cold war era: at first, by dint of their location on the U.S. security perimeter in Asia, and later by dint of their location on scattergrams of international economic performance.

The parallel between the ROC and the ROK now seems to extend still further. For in the second half of the 1980s, both states embarked voluntarily, and almost simultaneously, upon political transformations. The direction of their transformations, moreover, was common: toward a more accountable, open, and civil order in which leading figures in government were to be selected in competitive and accurately tabulated mass elections. The political restructurings currently underway in Taiwan and South Korea are today conventionally termed "democratization."

The evolution of more liberal political arrangements in Taiwan and South Korea over the past six or seven years is in itself surely an important occurrence. But what is the significance of these local changes? The ROC's and ROK's recent political trajectories have occasioned considerable commentary and theorizing, and are now adduced as evidence of greater international trends--even as evidence of the workings of the great forces of history. Discussions of "democracy and development in East Asia," for example, are today very much in vogue, and they rest largely on the strength of the ROC's and the ROK's dual example. Taiwan and South Korea are also being treated as instantiations of a newly fashionable conjecture, which holds that there is a universal tendency for prosperity and improved productivity to beget democratic governance (through such instruments as increased social complexity or a "rising middle class".

Students of statistics are well aware of the risks that "outliers" pose to their analyses: as unrepresentative observations, they can easily distort any assessment of overall trends. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Taiwan and South Korea: The "Democratization" of Outlier States
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.