Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

Capitalist maturity and South Korea’s post‐development conundrum

By Anthony D’Costa

South Korea’s post World War II economic development trajectory is well known. From an impoverished warn‐torn nation, the country has progressed on all fronts. However, the objective is to focus on the “post‐development” question, namely, what does a country do after it becomes prosperous. To put it another way, what are some of the emergent challenges that successful development poses for Korea, and how might it tackle them. I use the concept of capitalist maturity to denote Korea’s current state of prosperity and examine some of the economic, social, and political consequences. Some of these post‐development conundrums I argue have resulted from the transformation of Korea’s state–business development partnership to a business–state political partnership in the context of a democratizing Korea. This paper examines the challenges and some of the policy options to address them, including the rebalancing of the state–business relationship.

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