The development of the South Korean welfare regime

Sang-hoon Ahn and So-chung Lee

in East Asian welfare regimes in transition

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9781861345523
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302162 | DOI:
The development of the South Korean welfare regime

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This chapter focuses on the South Korean welfare system, analysing the role of Confucianism in this system. It reveals the crucial role of an authoritarian state dictatorship (backed by the US) in suppressing civil society, partly through the demonisation of the communist north, and forcing the pace of export-oriented industrialisation. The second phase of South Korean welfare system building, under the first democratically elected governments, saw substantial expansion and the creation of a welfare state framework. But this structure lacked a unifying philosophy that would ensure long-term survival. The final stage of welfare development, under the People's Government of Kim Dae Jung, is notable for the universalisation of welfare to some extent, despite the economic crisis and a loss of autonomy to the international economic agencies. Today, the chapter argues, the main characteristic of South Korean welfare is selectivity.

Keywords: Korean society; Confucianism; state dictatorship; welfare system; economic crisis; Kim Dae Jung

Chapter.  8393 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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