Monday, March 12, 2007

Chapters 3 and 4: Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan

Chapters 3 and 4: Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan

Chapter 3: Mass Political Incorporation, 1500-2000
Chapter three of our text focuses on the relationship between external and political incorporation, and especially the relationship between political and military mobilization. Generally, it posits that states seek external political incorporation to support them in limiting the internal incorporation of their own masses, and they seek the internal political incorporation of their masses to support them (militarily) in seeking advantage against other states. In other words, the elites of a state can maintain exploitative policies regarding their masses only in so far as other states allow them to do so, while on the other hand the elites need to allow some form of political incorporation of their masses in order to extract reliable military service from them to support their supranational agenda.

The chapter traces the history of these relationships as they apply to the Taiwan experience through three major periods: the imperial era, in which Taiwan was under Chinese control; the colonial era, in which Taiwan was a colony of Japan; and the nationalist era, during which Taiwan was under the rule of the KMT. Throughout each era, external political forces played a major role in influencing the internal political outcomes.

Chapter 4: Supranational Processes of Income Distribution
Chapter four looks at the distribution of income in Taiwan, and how it challenges both the traditional liberal and radical views of what happens to an economy of a peripheral state as it becomes developed and integrated into global economic systems. It looks at how external forces and processes influenced internal distribution over the main historical periods, including the late Ch’ing period, the Japanese colonial period, and the Nationalist period.

The chapter also examines the radical-globalist analysis of inequality in Taiwan, and examines both world-system and dependency views, as well as the different types of dependency, including colonial dependency, aid dependency, and trade and technology dependency.

The author further challenges the position of the New Statist and New Globalist analysts by putting forth the theory that supranational forces are important factors in shaping subnational distribution, but that these forces are misspecified.

In summary, the author says that earlier theorists, particularly the radicals, misunderstood how external forces influence income distribution in peripheral states, especially as applied to East Asia and Taiwan. The most important foreign policy influences in shaping Taiwan’s income distribution were land reform and export expansion, but there were also other important influences caused land, industrial, and political assets to change hands throughout the various eras of Taiwan’s development.

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