The Structural Power of Business in Korea’s Green Industrial Policy

After a long delay in production, the final article for the Issue 5 Feature Section on state-business relations in Asia is out.

State–Business Relations in Flux: Capturing the Structural Power of Business in South Korea’s Green Industrial Policy” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2021.1915362) is by Nahee Kang and Kahee Jo, both of the Department of International Development, School of Global Affairs, King’s College London, United Kingdom.

The abstract for the paper states:

Getting state–business relations “right” is considered to have been at the heart of the East Asian developmental states and their industrial success in the twentieth century. Given that the “right” state–business relations are an historically contingent outcome that emerges under a particular political and economic order, this article asks what is the emerging nature of their state–business relations in the twenty-first century? And, how is this relationship shaping their industrial competitiveness? These questions are explored by reconceptualising both the state and business to interrogate the nexus between the “competition state” and the “structural power” of business. Through a fine-grained investigation of green industrial policy-making in South Korea, it is shown how a state that is evolving into a competition state is made vulnerable to the structural power of business, challenging the widely held view that the right state–business relations are being maintained. The contribution made lies in identifying and tracing structural power, which remains under-examined in the state–business relations scholarship due to the difficulties associated with capturing quiet politics at work. This contribution invites further discussion on how state–business relations can be recalibrated to advance industrialisation in East Asia and beyond.

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