Korean Workers and Neoliberal Globalization
One of the most remarkable aspects of South Korea's transition from impoverished post-colonial nation to fully-fledged industrialized democracy has been the growth of its independent and dynamic labour movement. Korean Workers and Neoliberal Globalisation examines current trends and transformations within the Korean labour movement since the 1990s.
It has been a common assumption that the 'third wave' of democratisation, the end of the Cold War, and the spread of neoliberal globalisation in the latter part of the 20th century have helped to create an environment in which organised labour is better placed to overcome bureaucratic national unionism and transform itself into a potential counter-globalisation movement. However, Kevin Gray argues that despite the apparent continued phenomena of labour militancy and the rhetoric of anti-neoliberalism, the mainstream independent labour movement in Korea has become increasingly institutionalised and bureaucratised into the new capitalist democracy. This process is demonstrated by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions' experience of participation in various forms of policy making forums. Gray suggests that as a result, the KCTU has failed to mount an effective challenge against processes of neoliberal restructuring and concomitant social polarisation.
The Korean experience provides an excellent case study for understanding the relationship between organised labour and globalisation. Korean Workers and Neoliberal Globalisation will appeal to students and scholars of Korean studies and International Political Economy, as well as Asian politics and economics.
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The economic and financial crisis served to exaggerate and give this neoliberal
paternalism concrete expression in the form of the Tripartite Commission. Robert
Cox also argues that another prerequisite for social corporatism is that the ...
His election to the presidency led to the KCTU's withdrawal from the Tripartite
Commission, arguing that '. . . the [Tripartite Commission] is not a genuine
mechanism of social cooperation but a capitalist tool of control to prevent labour ...
If the KCTU does re-enter the Commission, it is argued that it might be possible to
exert some small influence on the bill, or the bill ... The professors add that this is
not speculation, but a proven fact of the history of the Tripartite Commission.
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Neoliberal globalization labour and resistance
Globalization crisis and the entrenchment
The rise and fall of militant labour unionism in Korea
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