Agricultural Restructuring and Capitalist Industrialization: The Cases of South Korea and the Philippines

Seung Woo Park, Gary P. Green


The divergent paths towards development taken by South Korea and the Philippines may be explained by the difference in the systems of colonialism established by Japan and the United States, respectively. The article looks into the distinct agricultural restructuring employed by each country and its effect on industrialization and development. In South Korea , land reform was meticulously carried out and farmlands strictly distributed, thereby weakening the position of the landlord class. This would in turn, explain the absence of any form of resistance from the agrarian classes in the course of its industrialization process. South Korea’s economy was also completely integrated to that of Japan; consequently, as the latter shifted its focus from the agricultural production to industrial development, the former likewise took off. In contrast, the Philippine colonial economy concentrated on promoting commercial agriculture to cater to the United State’s policy of maintaining free trade relations with the country in its favor. The intact agrarian elites, who intended to preserve their hegemony in the prevailing socio-political and economic structures readily, supported this policy. The result is a land reform that failed to restructure the economy, let alone achieve industrialization.


Agricultural Restructuring, Capitalist Industrialization, South Korea, Philippines

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