Changing Parameters of State Power: Presidential Leadership for Technological Development in Korea
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FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE IN THE KOREAN POLITICAL ECONOMY
Since the early 1960s, Korea has been dominated by strong presidents seeking to exert control over all aspects of the policy process. Other institutions, such as the legislature, political parties, and interests groups, were noticeably underdeveloped and played a subordinate role in the policy process. Only the bureaucracy, often working in concert with business interests, evolved to counter the absolute control of the president. The absolute influence of the president was very noticeable in matters relating to industrial and technological development. But this picture of a president-centered state is beginning to change. The twin forces of democratization and technological progress are leading to a greater emphasis on institutionalization and a move away from personalitydriven policy arrangements. This movement is a result of demands that government be more accountable to the public and better skilled at handling the complexities of technology-related issues. It shifts away from a system where authority over policy planning and implementation is imposed by the president and his closest advisors. In its place, a system is emerging where the president still plays a major role in policy guidance and direction, but where emphasis is increasingly placed on his ability to arrive at courses of policy action as a broker among divergent and often competing interests.
KeywordsPolicy Process Industrial Policy Technology Policy Absolute Control Economic Development Strategy
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