S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) 국제지역연구 국제지역연구 vol.08 (1999)
세계자본주의와 한국의 자본축적 - 국제적 패권구조, 국가와 생산의 연계성을 중심으로 : World Capitalism and Capital Accumulation in Korea : Focusing on the linkage among the International Hegemonic Structure, State, and Production
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국제지역원
- 국제지역연구, Vol.08 No.3, pp. 1-27
- This paper examines how the process of capital accumulation in Korea has been affected by the dynamic interaction between external factors such as hegemonic structure of the world capitalist system and internal factors such as domestic coalition and industrial policy.
Korea, which was selected and integrated into the international division of labor and the internationalization of capital, has taken advantage of the opportunity to accumulate capital with preparing proper strategies. In the 1960s, the developed countries, such as the U.S. and Japan, shifted the production site into the developing countries, to avoid the rise of wages and the fall of productivity. Korea, focusing on the production of low-value added, labor-intensive products, actively attracted foreign firms and accumulated capital in labor-intensive industries. In the 1970s, after the first oil crisis, the HCIs (heavy-chemical industries) was declining in developed countries and transferred to developing countries. Korea again took advantage of this change through the industrial transformation from the light to the HCIs. In the 1980s, the U.S., which was concerned of chronic deficit of current account, changed from the high-dollar to low-dollar policy in the monetary area and pressed Japan and the NICs to open their domestic markets. The Korean government, which was also faced with the pressure of political democratization, changed industrial policy from sector specific to neutral one and responded to these external and internal pressures with more general macroeconomic policies such as stabilization policy and market opening and liberalization policy.
On the other side of token, during the process of capital accumulation, unwanted problems such as imbalanced development of industrial structure, high dependency on foreign technology, weak financial structure, and huge foreign debt have been produced and acted as a structural constraint to further development. Especially, in the 1990s these problems have been worsened and Korea faced with economic bottleneck in continuing economic growth and industrial transformation. As the U.S and Japan shifted the foreign direct investment to China and the South-East Asia, Korea began to be disintegrated from the international division of labor and needed to transform into high-value added and technology-intensive industries. The structural constraint made the transformation difficult and eventually become one of underlying reasons of the financial crisis in Korea.
External factors initially provided Korea with an opportunity to access new capital, new technology, and new markets. But in the process of responding them, its political and economic structure have become too inflexible to adapt to changing international environment. To overcome the structural constraint, Korea needs to adopt a more flexible political and economic structure and change its strategy of capital accumulation from quantitative to qualitative one.