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Asia's Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization (Oxford Paperbacks)

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195076035
ISBN-10: 0195076036
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Editorial Reviews


"Her findings--supported by a look at several major industries--not only give a new picture of Korea but challenge much conventional economic teaching about development."--Foreign Affairs

"By informatively examining Korea's industrialization in both a comparative and an historical context, it isolates central features that uniquely characterize contemporary industrialization in a way that few other monographs have....This book is definitely on my shortest lists of essential readings about Korean development and about the process of industrialization more generally."--Journal of Economic Literature

"Amsden's work is well researched, highly stimulating. Indeed this is a seminal book, not just about modern Korea, but containing valuable lessons for other developing countries, and indeed for the already rich industrialized world now threatened by Korean competition."--Financial Times

"A thorough and thought provoking disquisition."--Pacific Review

"Adds a new chapter to the field of development economics by providing a systematic and comprehensive analysis of what she calls 'late industrialization as learning.'...Not withstanding her admirable scholarship, she is also a fascinating storyteller of a newly industrialized country. A highly recommended book for anyone who is interested in the industrialization process of later developing countries."--Choice

"The book is impressive, one of the best to date on South Korean industrialization."--American Journal of Sociology

"Amsden's seminal book explains the dynamic tension, crucial to Ssouth Korea's studding economic development, between the state and business."--Far Eastern Economic Review

"Amsden provides a particularly textured analysis of the consequences of shop floor strategies, transcending the usually mystifying verites of neoclassical eonomists observing South Korea's unregulated labor markets."--Science and Society

"The first full analysis of South Korean industrialization to appear, Amsden's book is a major achievement. Drawing upon broad theories of political economy that go far beyond the usual orthodoxy, she shows how a complex process of learning from abroad, combined with effective state intervention, has brought one new industry after another to world competitiveness and made South Korea our best example in the recent period of 'late' industrialization."--Bruce Cumings, University of Chicago

"With so much already written on South Korea's extraordinary record of industrialization, the solid achievement of Alice Amsden's book is to have added an altogether fresh dimension to the story....Her unusual ability to see the process through the eyes of an expert both in production management and in industrial organization generates some rare insights on this fascinating case."--Raymond Vernon, Harvard University

From the Back Cover

This timely book examines South Korean growth as an example of 'late industrialization, ' a process in which a nation's industries learn from earlier innovator nations, rather than innovate themselves. Discussing state intervention, shop floor management, and big business groups, Amsden explores the reasons for South Korea's phenomenal growth, paying special attention to the principle of reciprocity in which the government imposes strict performance standards on those industries and companies that it aids.

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 9, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195076036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195076035
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is widely known and referred to as a classic in international political economy. Besides of being the first book to chronicle Korea's rise to industrial power status, it is associated with the concept of the developmental state, meaning a set of institutions and policies that are conducive to economic catch-up and development. Like many classics, it is worth revisiting, if only to correct misperceptions and preconceived ideas. Contrary to expectations, the candid and uninformed reader will discover that 1/ the book does not really offer a theory of the developmental state; 2/ it devotes relatively little space to the role of the state; and 3/ it expands considerably more on business case studies and management concepts. Hence my paradoxical proposition: Asia's Next Giant should be read as a business book, not as a book on the economics of industrialization.

A close look at the book's bibliography will help me clarify my proposition. The book does quote economic studies, both theoretical essays like Balassa's "Stages Approach to Comparative Advantage" and specialized studies focussing on the Korean case, like Jones and Sakong's book on Government, Business, and Entrepreneurship in South Korea, published in 1980. Interestingly, the bibliography refers to a significant number of reports and papers emanating from the World Bank's economic research department, or jointly published by the World Bank and the Korea Development Institute. This is noteworthy because in this book as in subsequent publications, Alice Amsden takes a critical view of the Bretton Woods institutions, accusing the IMF and the World Bank of trying to apply orthodox recipes and austerity measures to an economy that does not follow neoclassical principles.
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Amsden provides a thorough description of the state-capital-chaebol nexus that characterized South Korea's remarkable developmental path. You cannot understand the rapidity of S. Korea's growth from a war-torn third world country to a developed political economy without Amsden's account. While the ROK transitions from a developmental state to a neoliberal one, the lineages of its past (which Amsden lays out) remain.
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