Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

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Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-08-22 01:11pm

Both were profoundly undemocratic societies bankrolled by America. One has largely stagnated, while the other has rapidly industrialised. Compare and contrast to other big locals: vietnam (following a chinese trajectory), thailand (always independent, but slowing now that tourism is saturated) and malaysia (developing and chuntering along).

Im trying to avoid the big man theories of history, but marcos was clearly incompetant. Is that a reflection of the political class at the time or sheer bad luck?
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-08-22 02:05pm

East Asian societies pursued a largely similar model of industrialization that dwelled on the strengths of these societies (Japan, Korea, China).

Philippines were closer to Latin American countries culturally and historically (former Spanish colony), and as we know the US sphere of influence in Latin America wasn't doing terribly well - a string of pathetically poor nations that were repeatedly subjected to extreme exploitation and subjugation from the US.

It has little to do with Marcos personally. How is Marcos different from Haiti's Baby Doc or the regime in Guatemala?
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-08-22 02:11pm

K. A. Pital wrote:East Asian societies pursued a largely similar model of industrialization that dwelled on the strengths of these societies (Japan, Korea, China).

Philippines were closer to Latin American countries culturally and historically (former Spanish colony), and as we know the US sphere of influence in Latin America wasn't doing terribly well - a string of pathetically poor nations that were repeatedly subjected to extreme exploitation and subjugation from the US.

It has little to do with Marcos personally. How is Marcos different from Haiti's Baby Doc or the regime in Guatemala?


That... is actually a very interesting perspective. Hmm. That could explain a lot.

I suppose it's also worth noting that the American sphere of influence in Korea only existed since the late 1940s... not the turn of the century as with the Philippines and Latin America.
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-08-22 02:29pm

K. A. Pital wrote:East Asian societies pursued a largely similar model of industrialization that dwelled on the strengths of these societies (Japan, Korea, China).

Philippines were closer to Latin American countries culturally and historically (former Spanish colony), and as we know the US sphere of influence in Latin America wasn't doing terribly well - a string of pathetically poor nations that were repeatedly subjected to extreme exploitation and subjugation from the US.

It has little to do with Marcos personally. How is Marcos different from Haiti's Baby Doc or the regime in Guatemala?


Thats a fascinating observation, but the next queztion is why? Is there something destructive in latin ametican - usa interaction that isnt there in east asia? What is it?
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-08-22 02:41pm

I guess it is a combination of factors.

East Asian societies have had the concept of a 'strong state', an autocratic, but efficient (in the sense of tax collection and crime punishment, but also in other state duties) bureaucracy, and they had it for a long period of time. This is what most of them actually are until present day. They also avoided being fully colonized for a protracted period of time in the last two centuries. Nationalism and loyalty to the nation-state have become important concepts even prior to the industrial ascent.

On the other hand, most Latin American countries had a poor history of 'strong state' - they barely had an efficient bureaucracy, the landed elite opposed measures that would crush their power, keeping the feudal relicts alive for too long. The US administration in the Philippinse did not get rid of the landed elite, prolonging the existence of a corrupt quasi-feudal state. The same thing happened in many other Latin American nations, where even a capitalist-national modernization took place only with great pains or not at all.

Finally, I think that the institution of nationally-loyal bourgeoisie that was a driving force behind the industrialization in most East Asian societies in the XX and XXI century, simply did not form in Latin America. Perhaps the centuries of colonialism and the formation of a very peculiar landed elite simply precluded the creation of this nationalistic bourgeoisie. The landed elite has a feudal mode of thinking; the nationalistic bourgeoisie has a nation-state mode of thinking when considering what is best for them. So that's why it was so important to get rid of the landed elite or dimish their power - to alter the class thinking. Once the thinking of the ruling class has changed significantly, it will have an impact on the policies enacted.
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-08-22 02:46pm

That model certainly describes the two factions that tore vuetnam apart.

I dont know enough about korean economy and ineqaulity to commrnt yet. Off to do some reading
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-08-22 04:32pm

Elheru Aran wrote:That... is actually a very interesting perspective. Hmm. That could explain a lot.
It is something of a commonplace that the Philippines are effectively a Far Eastern outpost of Latin America. They have some different social issues, but considerable similarities.

I suppose it's also worth noting that the American sphere of influence in Korea only existed since the late 1940s... not the turn of the century as with the Philippines and Latin America.
Remember, prior to the 1940s Korea was a Japanese colony, stretching back to the 1800s. And Japanese rule was... I honestly don't think you can argue it was better for South Korea than the US was.

Although, IF we argue that one of the key factors is the destruction of feudal aristocracy and the rise of a nationalist middle class... I believe that Japan did a fairly thorough job of squashing Korea's native-born economic elite, if I remember rightly. That might be in play.

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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-08-22 04:47pm

And the Japanese themselves were in a... proto-industrial? stage of their history. Of course most of that was crushed during WWII in Japan, I don't know what effect overall WWII had on Korea as it wasn't much contended IIRC until the very late stages, if at all.
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-08-22 05:07pm

The thing is, the Japanese would have been trying to replace Korean elites with Japanese elites. This process tends to result in a situation where when as soon as the country hits decolonization, it is much easier for people drawn from the local middle class to take over. Typically charismatic leaders of the rebel independence movement. Because the very process of decolonization blows a huge hole in the local power structure.

In Vietnam, the communists embraced this process, but the French and Americans in South Vietnam did not- thus creating a civil war, in which frankly the North Koreans were the more effective state that did a better job of securing the loyalty of their own citizens.

In the Philippines, by contrast, there was never a foreign class of elite overlords to rebel against, only a local power structure that was tolerated and quietly encouraged in its corruption by various foreign occupiers.

But in Korea, there was once a native class of elite overlords, then foreigners invaded and tried to establish themselves as chief of the pecking order, then the foreigners were thrown out, creating a power vacuum.

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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Lonestar » 2016-08-22 08:56pm

Elheru Aran wrote:And the Japanese themselves were in a... proto-industrial? stage of their history. Of course most of that was crushed during WWII in Japan, I don't know what effect overall WWII had on Korea as it wasn't much contended IIRC until the very late stages, if at all.


The Japanese had an extraordinarily literate society compared to similar pre-industrial states, which is probably what helped get a leg up compared to other countries when encountering colonizing Europeans.
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-08-23 03:01am

Truth be told, in terms of economic development Japanese rule in Korea accelerated the industrialization (at least, if statistics are to be believed).
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Guardsman Bass » 2016-09-01 02:20am

One factor might be the sheer cost of natural disasters in the Philippines, which takes the brunt of typhoons in the eastern(?)/western(?) Pacific. They cost the equivalent of 0.8% of its annual GDP, and in bad years (like with the super typhoon they had there) it can go up even higher. That might not seem like much, but it adds up over time if annual growth rates aren't very high.
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-09-01 03:12am

Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei also rank very high in the natural disaster risk rankings, and Korea and Taiwan rank very highly in being exposed to multiple types of natural disaster threats, as well as by land area and population exposed.

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/ ... 0only1.pdf

So while it is important, just as any piece of economic geography, it cannot be a decisive factor.
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-09-01 11:36am

Part of the difference there, I suppose, might be that Taiwan, Japan and South Korea have better infrastructure and more money to deal with natural disasters when they do hit?
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-09-01 12:12pm

Elheru Aran wrote:Part of the difference there, I suppose, might be that Taiwan, Japan and South Korea have better infrastructure and more money to deal with natural disasters when they do hit?

Yes, but isn't the question why historically East Asian industrialization has been a success, while the Philippines have historically failed (despite being directly occupied by the US for many decades and then having a buddy-buddy dictator who fancied himself best friend of the States)? How did Korea come in posession of the infrastructure and money while the Philippines didn't.
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-09-01 05:58pm

K. A. Pital wrote:Truth be told, in terms of economic development Japanese rule in Korea accelerated the industrialization (at least, if statistics are to be believed).
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One could reasonably argue that this would have happened anyway. In 1910, industrialization was negligible almost everywhere in the Far East. Japan set up industrial concerns in Korea, but the Korean government might well have done the same on its own, or sought foreign investment for the purpose.

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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-09-01 06:17pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
Elheru Aran wrote:Part of the difference there, I suppose, might be that Taiwan, Japan and South Korea have better infrastructure and more money to deal with natural disasters when they do hit?

Yes, but isn't the question why historically East Asian industrialization has been a success, while the Philippines have historically failed (despite being directly occupied by the US for many decades and then having a buddy-buddy dictator who fancied himself best friend of the States)? How did Korea come in posession of the infrastructure and money while the Philippines didn't.


An argument could be made that Korea is at least somewhat protected by Japan when it comes to natural disasters, though the island is narrow enough that it's not THAT much of a barrier--for example, it doesn't appear to be much wider than say Cuba, and Cuba doesn't much stop hurricanes from hitting Florida.

[/googles] Well... maybe not. Japan is a bit wider than Cuba, but it doesn't block Korea that much from Pacific typhoons, as they intersect mainly at the Korea Strait, which means that it's more like two lines meeting at an end-point rather than Korea intersecting Japan in the middle. So, forget that argument.

But if you want to look at geography... the Philippines were a colonial institution, as were the Dutch East Indies and French Indochina, while China and Japan were more or less independent countries. Korea was a Japanese protectorate with a long history of organized self-government as a nation rather than being a conglomerate of native tribes loosely united under colonial rule.
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-09-02 06:54am

That's no longer geography, it is history - and I have proposed a similar cultural-historic explanation at the start of this thread.
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Zinegata » 2016-11-14 02:44am

K. A. Pital wrote:On the other hand, most Latin American countries had a poor history of 'strong state' - they barely had an efficient bureaucracy, the landed elite opposed measures that would crush their power, keeping the feudal relicts alive for too long. The US administration in the Philippinse did not get rid of the landed elite, prolonging the existence of a corrupt quasi-feudal state. The same thing happened in many other Latin American nations, where even a capitalist-national modernization took place only with great pains or not at all.

Finally, I think that the institution of nationally-loyal bourgeoisie that was a driving force behind the industrialization in most East Asian societies in the XX and XXI century, simply did not form in Latin America. Perhaps the centuries of colonialism and the formation of a very peculiar landed elite simply precluded the creation of this nationalistic bourgeoisie. The landed elite has a feudal mode of thinking; the nationalistic bourgeoisie has a nation-state mode of thinking when considering what is best for them. So that's why it was so important to get rid of the landed elite or dimish their power - to alter the class thinking. Once the thinking of the ruling class has changed significantly, it will have an impact on the policies enacted.


Bit late, but there's a few things to note here:

In the Philippines there has been a local resurgence in the idea that it's more of a Latin American country than an Asian one, but that model has several holes in terms of our overall history. First, the Philippines did not become independent at the same time as Latin America - and was in fact ruled directly from Spain from the mid 1800s to the late 1800s. Second, the population was never quite completely integrated or displaced by the colonial masters. The language of South America (except Brazil) is Spanish, but in the Philippines the Spanish language was at its height only the language of the middle class and the rich from the 1850s to 1900, and it was then replaced by English while the rest of the country continued to speak Tagalog, Bisaya, or one of the many other local dialects.

That said, the idea of a "nationally loyal" elite did not exist in the Philippines. The rebellion against Spain for instance was in many ways a rebellion of the local Spanish-speaking landed elite against the Spanish government, and they had a distinctly paternal (almost serf-like) mindset when it came to the working classes. Even when industries were created they tended to be monopolistic extensions of the hacienda system - which in many ways prevented our industry from becoming truly competitive.

In that sense, it's really more of the "landed elite" issues that created the problems with industrialization, rather than the tenuous shared history with Latin America.

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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-11-14 03:00am

Thing is, the same landed elite also caused problems in Latin America, where there was also a history of corrupt oligarchies of powerful landed interests trying to lock in control of the state.

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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Zinegata » 2016-11-14 03:15am

Simon_Jester wrote:Thing is, the same landed elite also caused problems in Latin America, where there was also a history of corrupt oligarchies of powerful landed interests trying to lock in control of the state.


No argument about the landed elites being the main cause. My point however, is that our history with Latin America is not quite as aligned as often depicted - it's instead a bit of recent revisionism by the dying Spanish-speaking elites. Indeed, one could argue that the Philippine situation was even worse because the landed elites don't even share the same primary language as the poorer classes.

That's somewhat changing now - and for the better - because of a growing middle class that can speak English; which is increasingly being seen as the "real" national language in the provinces outside of the Tagalog strongholds (and in any case most Tagalogs already know how to speak English). One of the effects of this political resurgence outside of the Tagalog areas however was the victory of Duterte in the last election.

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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2016-11-15 12:16am

The similarities are in the patterns. But not in the exact details. The general patterns being due to the degree of the Spanish influence - the Catholicizing, their way of empowering their local assistant-families who become the oligarchic landed feudal elite, the divide and conquer leading to the disparities between the regions, exacerbated by post-colonial crony capitalism and oligarchy, etc. The differences would be, as Zinegata points out, that the Spanish-language did not become absorbed as the national language by the Filipinos due to the archipelagic nature of the place perhaps attenuating the total effectiveness of their colonization... and I guess the difference in timing too. If the Spanish had more time, if the islands less archipelagic, they might've been able to "reprogram" us even more effectively into the template they used in Latin America?

But that is also questionable because the Americas are isolated by oceans. The Philippine isles were always confederacies of isle-city-state-things and were always interconnected to he Malayan regions, the Indonesian regions, and East Asia/the Chinese parts - in trade, in socioculture, religion, ethnicity, etc.

The Asian values have not been eradicated, we still have so much in common with our neighbors... but again, there is distance, the other South East Asian states are closer to each other than they are to the Philippines. And historically, the Philippines' colonial overlords - the Spanish, the Americans - were... not the usual colonial masters of the rest of Asia. Those other Asian former-colonies were also brought closer due to their common subservience to say the British Empire...
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Re: Why did south korea develop and the phillipines fail?

Postby Zinegata » 2016-11-15 03:19am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:If the Spanish had more time, if the islands less archipelagic, they might've been able to "reprogram" us even more effectively into the template they used in Latin America?


I'm doubtful - because of a couple of circumstances that are not well-discussed in Philippine history.

The Philippines was not actually ruled directly by Spain for most of its colonial history - it was instead ruled by the Viceroy of Mexico. Moreover, contact even with just Mexico was very tenuous during this period - essentially being limited to a single ship which became the fabled Manila Galleon. It just wasn't possible to displace the local population with one boatload of people from Mexico annually (at most) coming to the Philippines. At best, the Mexicans formed a ruling class; which in turn was highly reliant on a native "middle" (or more correctly local chieftain) class.

Contact with Spain in fact only became much more frequent in the mid-1800s, when Mexico had become independent and a direct steamship route was established between Manila and Spain; which was accompanied by a period of substantial direct educational and infrastructure investments (like one of the Manila bridges which was designed by Eiffel).

That said, at this time Spain was flip-flopping between conservatism and liberalism - which in fact greatly affected local politics. What would become the independence movement for instance was originally an outgrowth of the liberal movements in Spain plus the growing meztizo middle class, which advocated making the Philippines a full Spanish province with the natives and meztizos becoming full citizens. However, Spain went hard towards conservatism towards the end of the century, and the liberal "reform" movement quickly morphed into a revolutionary one.

Much of this is not really recognized because Filipino history books are unfortunately extremely parochial - focusing only on specific aspects of the colonization without looking at the Philippine's overall history juxtaposed with that of the overall history of the Spanish Empire.


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