In This Review
Democracy And Development In East Asia: Taiwan, South Korea, And The Philippines

Democracy And Development In East Asia: Taiwan, South Korea, And The Philippines

Edited by Thomas W. Robinson

AEI Press, 1991, 320 pp.

Sixteen scholars examine the relationship between economic development and the spread of political democracy in Taiwan, South Korea and the Philippines. There are two very good essays on the Philippines. Richard Hooley of the University of Pittsburgh provides evidence that Philippine living standards have been on the decline since 1968, even as per capita income has risen. There has been a persistent decline in the income of the lower classes-rural and urban workers-while the income of the middle and upper classes has steadily increased. Hooley's pessimism is shared by David Rosenberg of Middlebury College who shows that the Philippine political system is more like Latin America than Asia. In Taiwan and South Korea there has been sustained improvement in real wages, land reform and educational and other reforms to equalize the distribution of income. Domestic and foreign investment policies promoted competitiveness. Patronage networks were replaced by merit systems. This was achieved through decisive leadership by a coalition of technocrats, modern army officers, farmers and new industrial entrepreneurs.

The Philippines has few of these characteristics of the Asian model. Instead, it possesses many of the traditional Hispanic characteristics: a traditional landed elite dominating key social institutions; a patronage-oriented civil service and political parties; industrialists protected from domestic and foreign competition; massive unemployment. The result is an economy that cannot grow rapidly, cannot distribute income fairly and cannot pay its debts. Under such circumstances, prospects for democracy are bleak.