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 literature on labour and globalization does portray the Korean labour
movement as a 'most likely' case of militant labour resistance to neoliberal
globalization. However, any analysis must take full account of the contradictions
that lie in the ...
resistance. Several events in the past quarter of a century have led to a renewed
interest in organized labour's potential to facilitate transformation in the
contemporary world order. It has been argued that the decline of the Keynesian
1993). Resistance and global civil society The pernicious social effects of global
neoliberal restructuring combined with the constrained nature of the 'third-wave'
of democracy raises the question of how resistance is conceptualized.
However, as Ian Clark argues, two broad streams can be further identified within '
globalization from below' and what is commonly referred to as 'resistance' to the
present system of global governance. The first takes the form of a 'loyal' ...
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2 Globalization crisis and the entrenchment of neoliberalism in Korea
3 The rise and fall of militant labour unionism in Korea
4 Social movement unionism and the Korean labour movement
5 Latedemocratization and low intensity social corporatism
6 Korean labour and the struggle against neoliberalism
7 The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions social reform struggle