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Chang, Dae-Oup (2013) 'Labour and 'Developmental State': A Critique of the Developmental State Theory of Labour.' In: Fine, Ben, Tavasci, Daniela and Saraswati, Jyoti, (eds.), Beyond The Development State: Industrial Policy into the Twenty-First Century. London: Pluto, pp. 85-109.

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As suggested in the introduction to this volume, the predilection to set up an opposition between state and market has resulted in ‘downplaying the role of class’ in analysing development. This chapter aims to take this critique a step further by looking at its impact in detail on development discourse around ‘labour’. I will argue that the problem of the developmental state theories is not so much a lack of apparent emphasis on individual classes but the de facto dissolution of the concept of class through the distancing of ‘classes’ from class relations and, in particular, the contradictory concept of labour whose subordination to capital is both the basis of capitalist development and a major driving force for social change. I suggest that the concept of the developmental state can be derived only with a particular understanding of labour that is disempowered and depoliticised. It is argued that statist development policies are essentially anti-labour in that they “fetishise” or mystify the state as if it exists apart from social relations in ‘facilitating’ development. This posture constitutes an effective barrier in the attempt to assign the labouring population a role in bringing about alternative social relations and more democratic processes of development, quite apart from writing them out of developmental states historically other than at most as some sort of potential obstacle to developmentalism as opposed to some ex post target of benefit. The first section will show how developmental state theories have mystified the state in the developmental process by taking a one-dimensional approach to state-society relations. The second part will then address how this particular setting of state-society relations detaches classes from class relations, reducing class to a group of owners of a particular source of revenue or, at best, a sociological agent. Instead, the form of the capitalist state in capitalist development needs to be addressed in bringing labour back into the analysis of development and the state. The third part will develop a historical critique of existing expositions of East Asian development with particular focus on the internal and external dynamics in which capitalist states in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have taken a particular form that provides the basis for the myth of the developmental state. The concluding remarks draw out the implication that the future prospects of the East Asian NICs are not best approached in terms of whether the developmental state survives or not, to what extent and in what form, but by focusing on the continuing evolution of the state in the context both of capital-labour relations and a heavily influential external environment.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Development Studies
ISBN: 9780745333175
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2011 11:42

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