ABSTRACT

A major feature of the post-World War II era has been the transformation of colonies into autonomous states, each free to establish its own course of development. Economic development in South Korea, a former Japanese colony, has been distinguished since the mid-1960s by unusually rapid industrialization and, more broadly, by especially rapid economic growth. Such growth has attracted widespread attention in recent decades, generated a substantial English-language literature on Korea’s economic performance, and raised a host of issues that have yet to be resolved. Among these are issues of what has been responsible for rapid growth, how this growth has affected people’s lives, and the extent to which the Korean experience is relevant for Korea’s future or for other countries.