[KS] Confucianism and economic development

Vladimir Tikhonov vladimir.tikhonov at east.uio.no
Sun Feb 9 11:25:54 EST 2003

I am also not sure how relevant my advice will be to your advisee's 
inquiry, but I would suggest that reading some of the works by South Korean 
proponents of the "Asian Values" theory might be of certain help. This 
group of extremely conservative scholars - most of them,surprisingly, with 
American educational credentials - suggests that what is usually identified 
as "social evil" in South Korea (regionalism, culture of informal 
networking known as "yOnjul", etc.) is, indeed, a valuable part of 
"Confucian culture", which gave Korea some advantage over its competitors. 
Web page of one of them, Lew Seok-Choon from Yonsei Un-ty 
(http://suny.yonsei.ac.kr/%7Esclew/ ), seems to contain some English as 
well. Other prominent one is Ham Chaebong 
(http://polisci.yonsei.ac.kr/%7Ecbhahm). Frankly, I would not cite their 
works without certain reservations because political bias is all too 
obvious, but as a particular kind of pseudo-Confucian socio-political 
ideology that may be of some interest as an object for study.


At 13:56 07.02.2003 -0700, you wrote:
>I am not sure how much relevance it would have, but here is something that
>your advisee might find interesting.
>Hoyt Tillman, Business as a Vocation: The Autobiography of Mr. Wu Ho-su.
>Havard University Press, 2002.  This is Prof. Tillman's translation (with an
>introduction and epilogue) of Huang Chin-shing's Ban shiji de fendou: Wu
>Huoshi xiansheng koushu zhuanji (Taibei: Yunchen wenhua gongsi, 1990).  Mr.
>Wu Ho-su is a Taiwanese businessman.  Here is a short introduction from the
>web site of Harvard University Press:
>Wu Ho-Su (1919-1986) pioneered business ventures ranging from cloth and
>synthetic fiber industries to department stores and life insurance. This son
>of a crippled former coolie began as a laborer for a Japanese
>cloth-importing company in the 1930s, but eventually became a manager and
>then an independent entrepreneur. Overcoming business obstacles in Chiang
>Kai-shek's Nationalist-ruled Taiwan after 1945, Mr. Wu painstakingly built
>Shinkong into Taiwan's sixth-largest business enterprise by the 1980s. This
>account of Wu Ho-Su's life, developed by Mr. Wu working directly with Dr.
>Huang Chin-shing of the Academia Sinica, one of Taiwan's most distinguished
>historians, is instructive for the lessons it offers about both business
>practices in East Asia and their interplay with Confucian values. The book
>recounts with graphic examples the changing role of family and other
>networks in Taiwan's economic "miracle" and in the region more generally.
>The blend that Mr. Wu evidenced of business acumen and concern for
>Confucianism, in turn, raises broader questions of the type that scholars
>and businesspeople have strenuously debated since the time of Max Weber
>about the compatibility of Confucian norms and modern business practices.
>Young Kyun Oh
>Instructor of Korean
>Arizona State University
>Dept. of Languages and Literatures
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Morgan Pitelka" <mpitelka at oxy.edu>
>To: <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 2:17 PM
>Subject: [KS] Confucianism and economic development
> >
> > Dear Colleagues,
> >
> > One of my advisees is conducting research on the connection between
> > Confucianism and economic development in postwar South Korea. He is
> > interested in both practice and discourse. In other words, he is not
> > assuming that the connection always exists and is important, but rather
> > expects that in many examples the rhetoric of Confucianism became a
> > corporate and state tool in the attempt to construct certain kinds of
> > identities and encourage certain kinds of behavior.
> >
> > The problem he is encountering is a plethora of vague references to the
> > Confucian-development connection (particularly in discussions of the
> > chaebol) combined with a lack of specific evidence.
> >
> > Can anyone suggest materials that might be useful in the study of this
> > issue? Interviews, case studies, diaries, corporate PR, etc.? I've pasted
> > the basic reading list he is working with at this point to the bottom of
> > this message. (I am a specialist in East Asian premodern ceramics and
> > cultural history, and thus out of my depth when it comes to modern
> > history.)
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Morgan
> >
> > *****************
> > Morgan Pitelka
> > Asian Studies Department
> > 408 Johnson Hall
> > Occidental College
> > 1600 Campus Road
> > Los Angeles, CA 90041
> > 1-323-259-1421
> > mailto:mpitelka at oxy.edu
> > *****************
> >
> > Amsden, Alice. Asia's Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization.
> > Oxford, 1989.
> >
> > Borthwick, Mark. The Pacific Century: The Emergence of Modern Pacific
> > Westview, 1992.
> >
> > Brook, Timothy and H.V. Luong. Culture and Economy: The Shaping of
> > Capitalism in Eastern Asia. Michigan, 1997.
> >
> > Chung Kae H. and H.C. Lee. Korean Managerial Dynamics. Praeger, 1989.
> >
> > Cummings, Bruce. Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History. Norton, 1997.
> >
> > Das, Dilip K. Korean Economic Dynamism. St. Martin's Press, 1992.
> >
> > Kim, Eun M. Big Business, Strong State: Collusion and Conflict in South
> > Korean Development, 1960-1990. State University of New York, 1997
> >
> > Steers, Richard M. Made in Korea: Chung Ju Yung and the Rise of Hyundai.
> > Routledge, 1999.
> >
> > Tai, Hung-chao. Confucianism and Economic Development: An Oriental
> > Alternative? Washington Institute Press, 1989.
> >
> > Ungson, Gerardo R., R.M. Steers, and S.H. Park. Korean Enterprise: The
> > for Globalization. Harvard Business School, 1997.
> >
> >
> >

Vladimir Tikhonov,
Department of East European and Oriental Studies,
Faculty of Arts,
University of Oslo,
P.b. 1030, Blindern, 0315, Oslo, Norway.
Fax: 47-22854140; Tel: 47-22857118
Personal web page: 
Electronic classrooms: East Asian/Korean Society and Politics:
                        East Asian/Korean Religion and Philosophy:

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