The Korean Peninsula in Transition by Dae Hwan Kim, Tat Yan Kong (eds.)

By Dae Hwan Kim, Tat Yan Kong (eds.)

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Since then there have been notable improvements in the political and economic conditions of the workers, but policy discrimination persists. 9 Encouraged by the Great Struggle, workers' organisational and political strength has grown, to the extent that one can now speak of the politics of the working class. Some even envisage the socialist transformation of Korean society. Leaving aside the ideological impact of the collapse of communism, structural constraints facing the Korean working class raise serious doubts about the realism of such aspirations.

Comparing the year 1991 with 1963, all measures indicate increased concentrations in the two regional poles. Since Korea's economic growth has been led by industrialisation, this regional pattern does much to determine the distribution of economic welfare by region. 6, confirms that a similar pattern applies to the regional distribution of income. The most notable divergence is that Honam (Jeonbuk and Jeonnam), despite being slightly more industrialised than other areas except the two poles, remains the poorest in terms of per capita regional product.

In essence, the export promotion system of Korea was the counterpart to the detailed and pervasive interventions that characterised her import and internal industrial regimes. Some promotion measures, both functional and selective, were designed to overcome the biases introduced by these regimes; others were designed to operate as independent instruments of policy in enhancing the country's competitive dynamism. The free trade setting offered to exporters was, therefore, a simulation of some of the necessary conditions rather than a true exposure to full international competition.

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