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Simultaneous Transitions: Democratization, Neoliberalization, and Possibilities for Class Compromise in South Korea


  • Wonik Kim

    (Department of Political Science, Louisiana State University,


The purpose of this paper is to bring class compromise back into the study of South Korean political economy and present it as a possible alternative to the overwhelmingly one-sided neoliberal trajectory in South Korea. The process and conditions under which positive class compromise is acquired are identified in terms of the Polanyi-Gramsci nexus. This perspective suggests that the restoration of state-led developmentalism would be unfeasible under a democratic regime, while the implementation of a purely neoliberal blueprint may lead to unproductive class conflict. Employing this theoretical framework, I examine possibilities for positive class compromise in the context of the simultaneous transitions—democratization and neoliberalization—in South Korea. JEL classification: B5, H7, O53, P5

Suggested Citation

  • Wonik Kim, 2010. "Simultaneous Transitions: Democratization, Neoliberalization, and Possibilities for Class Compromise in South Korea," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 505-527, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:42:y:2010:i:4:p:505-527

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    class compromise; neoliberalism; democratization; developmental state; Polanyi; Gramsci;

    JEL classification:

    • B5 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems


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