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Development Discourses of ‘the Sasangge Economy Team’ in the Late 1950s Early 1960s

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2012, (105), pp.321-364
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

정진아 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The Sasangge Economy Team organized in the late 1950s with members Lee Sang‐goo, Yoo Chang‐soon, Lee Dong‐wook and Lee Chang‐ryeol under the leadership of Seong Chang‐hwan contributed discourses for the economic section of Sasangge and led development discourses from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. 'The Sasangge Economy Team' aimed at rapid industrialization and economic growth through government‐led industrialization policies and economic development plans. With the occurrence of the 5․16 Military Coup, the Sasangge group approved it as a national revolution succeeding the 4․19 Revolution, and provided active participation and support to the military regime. The economic development plans promoted by the military regime had many things in common with the development discourses of the Sasangge Economy Team in that they concentrated on major backbone industries (electric power, coal,petroleum refining, fertilizer and iron) and labor‐intensive industries,emphasized economy in consumption and frugality, strengthened the role of internal resources, especially, the government’s financial sector rather than external resources, and targeted economic growth as high as 7%. From the beginning just after the coup d’état, the military regime organized extensive advisory committees for the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction and other governmental departments and built up the framework of economic policies. The reason that Korean intellects including the Sasangge Economy Team advocated the military regime’s economic policies was that the military regime actively appropriated the development discourses that they had established. Sasangge is obviously a text full of anti‐Communist nationalism and modernism. However, the 20th century was the age of nationalism and modernism, and in those days it was almost impossible for the Korean intellectual circle, which was caught up in the cold war and the division of the country just after the Liberation, the Korean War, and postwar regime competition, to go beyond nationalism and modernism. Rather, we should take note that, as part of development discourses accumulated by the intellectual circle were reflected in the military regime’s economic development plans,government‐led planned economy was settled instead of liberal economy led by capitals and markets. After the Korean War and the emergence of the military regime,constitutional provisions for economy of equality and public interests were amended drastically. In addition, among the roles assigned to the state by the First Constitution of Korea, public areas shrank considerably and people’s life was forced out by the logic of capital and productivity‐first policies. Nevertheless, the state’s roles such as the stability and improvement of people’s life and the realization of a welfare state were still included as the basic goals of the regime’s economic development plans. This suggests that the military regime was unable to promote changes and reforms without solving problems in people’s life. In this sense, the military regime’s economic development plans are a kind of ‘passive revolution’ by nature. Critical intellects including Sasangge who found a boundary with the military government through their struggles against the extension of the military rule and the Agreement between Korea and Japan in 1965 were faced with the tasks to reflect fundamentally on the limitations of development discourses appropriated by the military regime and to develop counteracting discourses.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.