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Government Guided Growth: The Industrialization of South Korea

Info: 5756 words (23 pages) Essay
Published: 16th Nov 2021 in Economics

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How did the South Korean government shape the industrialization of Korea?

The South Korean government implemented interventionist policies and reforms to promote export-oriented industrialization.

Map of South Korea (Lew and Im)

In the early 1900s, the Joseon Empire of Korea was deeply agrarian. Komatsu Midori, an official of the Japanese foreign ministry during the Japanese annexation of Korea (1910-1945), described his first hand experiences, stating that "commerce in its true sense did not exist in [Korea]. The only branch of human activity remaining in the country was agriculture" (Midori).

Because South Korean history in the 20th century was one wrought with political strife and warfare that interrupted and destroyed their attempts at development and modernization, South Korea's industrial state remained relatively unchanged after World War ⅠⅠ. Indeed, South Korea was one of the world's poorest countries until the 1960s (Park and Ok 203), lacking both domestic capital and the natural resources necessary to attract foreign investors ("The Korean Economy … "). However, in less than a century, South Korea was able to miraculously transition from a developing state with minimal production and commerce (Cetin and Karadas 93) to the economic powerhouse it is today (Lew and Im).

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Surmounting all odds, South Korea grew at an average annual growth rate of 9% between the 1960's - 1990s with a hundredfold increase in per capita income. For this reason, historians call this period of rapid growth and industrialization ​The​Miracle on the Han ​(Lew and Im). During this time, the South Korean government implemented interventionist policies and reforms to promote export-oriented industrialization that caused South Korea's extraordinary boom in economic growth.

The first important form of government intervention was Land Reform on agricultural land during the early years of the presidency of Syngman Rhee (1948 to 1960). Until then, South Korea had a land tenure system, where in 1930, 77.5% of farmers were tenants who paid up to 60% of their annual crop yields to mostly absentee landlords, or ​yangban,​ who controlled around two thirds of total farmland (Shin 14). The tenure system caused the formation of a very small wealthy aristocracy, ​the yangban​, but kept the majority of the population in a cycle of chronic poverty as subsistence farmers, burdened by hefty rent and taxes.

Complete lack of expendable income for most of the population inhibited social mobility and economic diversification, especially since very few rural families could send their children to school or spend money on anything but food and basic necessities. The system also limited agricultural production as there was no incentive for tenant farmers to be more efficient by increasing input supply or improving technology (Shin 15) as only the absentee landlords would reap the benefits. The faulty system persisted during the Japanese occupation because the yangban ​would inevitably have surplus crops which the Japanese authorities wanted to import.

At the beginning of Rhee's presidency, urgent reforms were called for and procured in the form of the Land Reform Act of 1950. The purpose of the act was, as set forth in its own first article, " to improve the living conditions of farmers [and] to keep the balance of and to develop the national economy by increasing agricultural productivity" (qtd. in Pak 1015). The reforms effectively abolishing tenancy by setting the limit for maximum farm size at 7.35 acres (Pak 1015) causing the redistribution of 577 chungbos of land to 1.6 mil farmers (Shin 14). This had two main impacts.

First, a new commoner class emerged of land-owning farmers who were no longer burdened by high rent costs and were incentivized to increase production (Lew and Im). This increase in agricultural production created a strong foundation for population increases and meant that fewer farmers were needed to sustain the population, allowing for less focus on agriculture.

Second, because the previous landowners could no longer invest their money in land, they invested in businesses and schools. The presence of more schools combined with the ability of families to send children to school meant that modern education increased rapidly after 1953 (Lew and Im) which is why, between 1945-1960, enrollment in higher education increased tenfold (Seth). By 1961, South Korea had a well-educated young workforce which built the foundation for later economic growth ("The Government Role … ").

The combination of increased capital and educated individuals set the stage for economic diversification, so while 61% of the population were farmers in 1961, by 1980 that number had fallen to 38% (Seth). Land reform policies redistributed the wealth of ​yangban​ towards education, commerce and industry, helping with the lack of capital for development beyond agriculture.

While some of President Rhee's policies helped set up South Korea for rapid industrial growth, his policies weren't the catalyst for the Miracle on the Han. In 1963, General Park Chung Hee seized power in a coup d'état, launching a new prosperous era through his Japan-inspired developmental state model and commitment to export-oriented industrialization.

A developmental state is a political system where the government, through interventionist economic policies, is the main actor in getting a country past periods of underdevelopment. Export Oriented Industrialization policies are policies that promote the production and exporting of goods in which the nation holds a comparative advantage to develop a country's economy (Lee).

A key goal of the governments of General Park and his successor Chun Doo Hwan was to reform the South Korean economy to be able to compete in international markets (Heo et al. 5) through export oriented industrialization.

General Park's priorities had a significant impact on South Korea's industrial structure. Earlier that decade, 40-50 percent of the total industrial structure in South Korea was based around agriculture and a mere 10-20 percent was manufacturing, but with General Park's guidance, it evened out to approximately 30 percent of the industrial structure each, balancing out the agriculture to manufacturing disparity by the late 1960s (Heo et al. 6).

In previous regimes, especially President Rhee's, corruption hindered growth, so when General Park took power he reformed the bureaucracy to perfect his developmental state. He established the Ministry of Economic Planning Board (EPB) in 1961 to guide the path to rapid industrialization. The EPB was filled with bureaucrats known for their high intellectual capability and educational background in business and economics ("The Government Role … "), especially those with ties to major corporations. This created strong bonds between the government and private sector, enabling the EPB to ascertain better economic policies (Lee).

The EPB analyzed international economic demands and chose key industries of focus (Jeong 16), allocating financial resources, and formulating corresponding policy accordingly ("The Government Role … "). The EPB was responsible for the creation of seven Five Year Economic Plans, series of socioeconomic policies to achieve specific development goals that dictated the structure of the South Korean economy from 1962 to the turn of the 21st century (Park and Ok 203).

The First Plan (1962-1966) was meant to strengthen the foundation of the economy, with a focus on transforming the economy from its foreign aid-dependence amid declining US aid. The government provided assistance to basic industries and invested in the improvement of economic infrastructure (Heo et al. 5), leading to the age of light industrial products like textiles and footwear (Seth) that were produced in small factories ("The Korean Economy … ") Additionally, because a consumption-oriented economy was not self-sufficient, a major government objective was to decrease the dependence on foreign oil, a major import at the time. Thus, the First Plan prioritized the expansion of domestic electrical and coal energy industries ("The Government Role … ").

With the Second Five-Year Economic Development Plan (1967- 71), the government planned on fostering industries specifically for export promotion" (Heo et al. 5). Due to the lack of capital, significant natural resources, and advanced technology, the government initially promoted labor-intensive light industries for export (Heo et al. 6) to take advantage of the countries abundant workforce. The government aided the formation and survival of these new industries in two ways.

First, new industries were promoted through import substitution (i.e. the government would make the importation of certain goods very difficult to force domestic production). Once the new industries formed, the government would aid and encourage the export of the new manufacturing goods by reducing taxes for exporters and exempting raw materials imported for export production from tariffs ("The Government Role …").

Second, the government used their authoritarian power to crack down on labor unions, preventing labor rights, limits, and safety requirements because South Korea needed low labor costs to reduce production costs to stay competitive internationally. An example of this was on May 18th, 1980, when protestors calling for labor reforms were killed, tortured, and raped during what was later called the Gwangju Massacre (Lee).

The 3rd (1972-1976) and 4th plans (1977-81) were characterized by a shift in government focus from light industries to heavy-chemical industries. (Heo et al. 6). As the economy grew with the increase in exports and there was more available initial capital, the government started pushing for Heavy-Chemical Industrialization (HCI) in order to supply new industries with raw materials and to decrease dependence on foreign funds, appointing iron and steel, transport machinery, household electronics, shipbuilding, and petrochemicals as five strategic fields ("The Government Role ...").

However, at the time, HCI was considered an expensive and risky investment that many enterprises were reluctant to embrace. So, in 1972 when Park declared martial law and assumed dictatorial power, he nationalized all banks, including commercial ones and used corporate dependency on government credit allocation alongside low-interest loans to incentivize the redirection of the economy (Heo et al. 6, Seth).

Although the upfront costs were higher with HCI than with light industries, very favorable export performance internationally made up for it. The upfront costs for HCI were similar globally, but because of South Korea's low wages, the cost of production was uniquely lower in South Korea. Because high-quality, low-cost products could be produced in South Korea, Heavy and Chemical Industries grew by 51.8 percent in 1981 ("The Government Role … ").

South Korea's newfound role as an international competitor would soon be challenged by internal political changes. Park was assassinated in 1979, and his successor ​Chun Doo-hwan was ousted in 1987 due to popular dissatisfaction. A new constitution and the first free presidential election that year marked South Korea's permanent transition to democracy. Without the authoritarian suppression of labor unions and labor rights, the working classes who were now ​politically powerful started strikes and protests. These strikes were very effective, and from the 1980s-1990s, wages increased by 18% per year because of labor unions (Seth). This removed the low-wage advantage of South Korean products, as it increased production costs. In order to maintain a competitive advantage with their exports, the government was forced to prioritize the innovation of more creative products (Jeong 25), ultimately causing the government to shift focus to capital and innovation-intensive industry (Seth).

South Korea's 5th and 7th economic plans reflected the shift in emphasis away from HCI to technology-intensive industries, such as precision machinery, electronics, and information. According to "The Government Role … " the South Korean government theorized that unique high-technology products would be in demand on the world market regardless of incremental price increases.

The government developed its high technology industries on two fronts. First, South Korea spent money on education to develop human resources from a young age (Cetin 95), increasing the number of technical colleges and vocational secondary schools (Seth). Compared to other developing nations at the time, South Korea had a very well educated population, which enabled it to achieve rapid growth. In the case of the technology industry, it meant an abundance of trained engineers and entrepreneurs. Second, the government took steps to foster more research and development (R&D). The government allocated funds to research centers which helped increase R&D alongside technology and science expertise (Seth). In fact, after the 1980s most government funding went to large firm R+D (Cetin and Karadas 95) to accelerate the development of science and technology in the capable hands of large conglomerates. The government's goal was to raise the ratio of R&D investment from 2.4 to 3 percent of GNP by 1991 ("The Government Role in Economic Development").

Even as the specific prioritized industries changed, two aspects of government control did not change.

First, the exchange rate was monitored and aggressively managed to minimize fluctuation in the value of the South Korean Won. The only way to keep a stable exchange rate while an economy is growing at fast rates was to lower it artificially. This provided an incentive to export because it ensured that South Korean exports were cheaper and thus in higher demand (Heo et al. 7).

Second, the government aided the rise in the 1960s and growth of family-controlled business conglomerates called ​chaebols ​that still control the majority of South Korea's economy today. In the 1960s, General Park used state-controlled credit flow to provide subsidies, favorable loans, and tax breaks to successful enterprises at the time (i.e. the future chaebols) (Lee) to help them meet export targets established by the EPB. If the targets were met, the companies would receive additional government subsidies and more access to the growing domestic markets, but if they weren't, government funds would be withdrawn ("The Government Role…").

More successful ​chaebols ​were incentivized to continue to achieve and gain more market control and the government gained significant control over the private sector (Lee). In order to maximize economic efficiency, the state minimized unnecessary competition by limiting export licenses so that a few ​chaebols dominated each sector (Seth). Because ​chaebols​ already had the necessary capital base, the state pushed pre-existing ​chaebols​ into new industries instead of allowing new firms to emerge so that ​chaebols ​could develop economies of scope and scale.

Chaebols had a few special structural features which aided their success. First, government guided diversification ( i.e. the expansion of production into different industries) meant that ​chaebols ​had many affiliates. This benefitted R&D because technology was freely shared across affiliates and group R&D centers were commonplace.

Second, as ​chaebols​ grew they could begin vertical integration (i.e. indigenizing inputs for different stages of production) through economies of scale which decreased production times and production costs.

This efficiency made the exports of c​haebols​ very competitive on a world stage (Jeong 6). An example of this is the South Korean steel industry, where production increased 14-fold by 1972. The industry was led by Pohang Iron and Steel who owned the world's largest steel making complex and were a very powerful global competitor. South Korea's prowess in the shipbuilding industry was similar, and they became the second-largest shipbuilder in the world (Seth).

In conclusion, government intervention guided the South Korean economy into a period of rapid growth by making their exports internationally competitive, prioritizing and subsidizing the most advantageous industries, and promoting the growth and supremacy of ​chaebols, ​allowing South Korea to achieve growth that took 100 years for western nations in less than 40 years (Cetin and Karadas 94).

Illustration:

South Korea's History of Economic Growth (Lee)

Annotated Bibliography

Çetin, Rahmi, Dr, and Songül Karadas. "Han Nehri Mucizesi: Ekonomik Kalkınmada Güney Kore Örneği" ["The Miracle on the Han River: South Korean Economic Development "]. ​Istanbul Journal of Economics​, no. 68, 2018, pp. 93-112, doi:10.26650/ISTJECON405372. Accessed 10 Dec. 2019.

This research article is from the Istanbul Journal of Economics, a peer-reviewed, academic journal funded by Istanbul University's Faculty of Economics with articles in both Turkish and English, catering to academics, researchers, and graduate students.

The study examines the long-term macroeconomic performance of South Korea between 1963 and 2015 through a close-up perspective of space and a landscape perspective of time.

I am confident in the credibility of this article because articles from the Istanbul Journal of Economics are heavily vetted and peer-reviewed by experts in the field before being published in one of the biannual publications. Songül Karadaş is a Professor of Economics at Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University, and Rahmi̇ Çeti̇n is the Head of Department of Economics at Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, demonstrating their significant knowledge in the field.

The abstract and extended abstract provided me with helpful context and important statistics, but I was unable to gain a deeper understanding of the topics discussed in the abstract as the rest of the article was in Turkish.

"The Government Role in Economic Development." ​South Korea: A Country Study​, edited by Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. Country Studies/Area Handbook Series. ​Country Studies​, countrystudies.us/south-korea/47.htm. Accessed 18 Dec. 2019.

This book is from a website that contains the on-line versions of books previously published in hard copy by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress as a part of The Country Studies Series, an effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army that was designed to provide U.S. government officials and American citizens with information on lesser-known areas of the world or regions in which U.S. forces might be deployed.

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This book contains a comprehensive and lengthy description and analysis of South Korea's geography, society, economy, political systems, and foreign policies throughout time. Open online access renders it available for a general audience, but high levels of detail will likely deter all but researchers and academics looking for specific information. Although the whole book is a panorama perspective of time as it covers Korean history from the founding of Choson before 1100 BCE to the late 1900s, I pulled information from a section that focused specifically on the government's role in economic development after the 1950s.

I am confident in the credibility of this source as it was published by the Federal Research Division and was written and edited by a multidisciplinary team of accredited social scientists who have written many other Country Studies.

Heo, Uk, et al. "The Political Economy of South Korea: Economic Growth, Democratization, and Financial Crisis," ​Maryland Series in Contemporary Asian Studies​: Vol. 2008: No. 2, Article 1. The ​Maryland Series in Contemporary Asian Studies​ is an academic journal and a publication of the East Asian Legal Studies Program at the University of Maryland School of Law that focuses on publishing scholarly articles on the significant political, economic, social, and legal issues concerning the East Asian region.

This particular article provides a landscape perspective of time of the political economy of South Korea (i.e. 1961-1997). I pulled information from the second and third sections that highlighted the factors that contributed to South Korea's economic development during the authoritarian regimes of Park Chung-Hee and Chun Doo-Whan.

I am confident that this source is credible because, as an academic journal, it has been thoroughly peer-reviewed, and because Uk Heo is a professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee whose work has been published in many academic journals, demonstrating his knowledge on the topic.

Jeong, Gookjin. ​Miracle on the Han River: A Regression Analysis of the Effect of Chaebol Dominance on South Korea's Economic Growth​. 2015. University of Colorado, Boulder, Undergraduate Honors Thesis.

This undergraduate thesis was written by Gookjin Jeong to enable him to graduate with a degree in International Affairs from the University of Colorado Boulder with Latin honors. Jeong does a regression analysis of the effects of Chaebols on South Korea's economic growth. While the thesis is free for all to access, its complex vocabulary and calculations make it most suitable for an expert audience. Its approval for inclusion in Undergraduate Honors Theses by administrators, including Brian Cadena, Ph.D. (Economics) and Vicki Hunter, Ph.D. (International Affairs), of CU Scholar demonstrates its credibility.

Johnson, Jean Elliott, and Donald James Johnson. ​The Human Drama: World History: From 1450 C.E. to 1900. Princeton, Wiener, 2011.

It provides a panoramic perspective of space and time, as it describes important historical events from 1450 to 1900 that happened all around the world and that occurred over more than four centuries. Although it was written as an educational resource for students, it can be understood by a general audience as well. I read the sections on Industrialization in the Americas and Europe, but they weren't very relevant to South Korean Industrialization.

Being an assigned textbook for my sophomore history course, I am confident in its credibility, and the fact that it cites numerous secondary and primary sources in its bibliography only strengthens those beliefs. Donald and Jean Johnson were both history teachers who received numerous awards, furthering their credibility.

"The Korean Economy – the Miracle on the Hangang River." ​KOREA.net​, Korean Culture and Information Service, an arm of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, www.korea.net/AboutKorea/Economy/The-Miracle-on-The-Hangang. Accessed 10 Dec. 2019.

This article was published on Korea.net, an official website of the Korean government that is a part of the Korean Culture and Information Service, an arm of the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It is supposed to serve as a communication bridge to promote Korean news, history, and culture overseas to a diverse foreign audience, providing service in nine languages. This article takes a landscape perspective through time and a closeup perspective through space, focusing on the economic transformation and growth of South Korea from the beginning of the Miracle on the Hangang period to 2017.

Although this article's analysis is likely to be slightly biased because its purpose is to promote Korea, the fact that it is a government publication ensures that the statistics are credible.

Lee, Andy S. "The Other Side of the Miracle on the Han River." ​McGill International Review​, 16 Jan. 2019, www.mironline.ca/the-other-side-of-the-miracle-on-the-han-river/. Accessed 10 Dec. 2019.

This article was published on the website of The McGill International Review, an online undergraduate journal of international affairs operated by the International Relations Student Association of McGill University. Written by an undergraduate student for undergraduate students as well as other young academia, this article posits that South Korea's developmental state and the resulting growth came at the cost of citizen security and freedom through a close-up perspective of time (i.e. the 1960s-80s), citing numerous hyperlinked academic journals to ensure credibility.

I found this article to be helpful as it provided a clear explanation of the developmental state and export-oriented industrialization and their application in South Korea. This article also provided me with a graph of South Korean GNI per capita growth over 74 years, starting in 1952.

Lew, Young Ick, and Hyug-Baeg Im. "Economic and Social Developments." ​Encyclopedia Britannica​, by Bae-ho Hahn et al., Encyclopedia Britannica, 5 Dec. 2019, www.britannica.com/place/South-Korea. Accessed 9 Dec. 2019.

This section, from a lengthy article from Encyclopedia Britannica on the social, geographical, political, cultural, and historical aspects of South Korea throughout time, looked at economic and social developments through a landscape lens (i.e. 1950s-2010). Written simply with lots of background information and graphics, the article is accessible to a general audience, often forgoing detail for ease of explanation. Still, I was able to find helpful simple statistics about the social impacts of land reform within the section and a detailed political map of South Korea.

I am confident that the section I read is credible because Young Ick Lew is a Professor of Korean History at the Graduate School of International Studies of Yonsei University in Seoul and Hyug-Baeg Im is a Professor of Political Science at Korea University, demonstrating knowledge in their respective fields.

Midori, Komatsu. "The Old People and the New Government." vol. IV, part I: 1-12, 1912. ​Royal Asiatic Society-Korea Branch​, www.raskb.com/transactions/VOL04Part1/VOL04Part1_1.docx. Accessed 11 Dec. 2019. Address.

This is a transcript available online on the Royal Asiatic Society's website of a talk given by Komatsu Midori, an official of the Japanese foreign ministry and Director of Foreign Affairs of Government General of the Japanese protectorate of Korea, to resident, primarily British and American, foreign members of Seoul's Royal Asiatic Society shortly after the annexation.

The purpose of the talk was to justify the annexation of Korea to the rest of the world, and within his speech, Midori pushes the idea that Japan was trying to help with Korea's concerning underdevelopment. Midori mixes ancient lore with shared Japanese and Korean history through a landscape perspective of space and a panoramic perspective of time to suggest that the Japanese and Korean peoples originated from one nation.

While Midori is biased in that his job is to portray Japan as a savior, his first-hand description of South Korea's economic state really enforces the idea that South Korea was behind the times with industrialization, especially compared to Japan.

Pak, Ki Hyuk. "Outcome of Land Reform in the Republic of Korea." ​American Journal of Agricultural Economics​, vol. 38, no. 4, 1 Nov. 1956, p. 1015. ​Oxford Academic​, doi:10.2307/1234244. Accessed 9 Dec. 2019.

As the title suggests, its an article from the ​American Journal of Agricultural Economics​ on the outcome of land reform policies in South Korea. This source helped me deepen my understanding of the actual reforms. I could only access the introduction without an Oxford Academic account, suggesting that the primary audience of this article is academia.

Because this article has been published in an academic journal, I know that it is credible because it has been peer-reviewed by experts in the field. Additionally, the author has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and wrote their dissertation on Land Reform in Korea, demonstrating the extent of their knowledge on the topic.

Park, Kyoungho, and Gwang Ok. "Context: The Birth of South Korea." ​Media, Sport, Nationalism: East Asia: Soft Power Projection via the Modern Olympic Games​, by Tianwei Ren et al., e-book, Berlin, Logos Verlag Berlin GmbH, 2019, pp. 201-04.

This section focuses on South Korean modernization through a landscape perspective focus on the second half of the 20th century and is a part of an online version (both through space and time) print book that is a collection of essays on the relationship between soft power dynamics in East Asia and the modern Olympic games. I gained a helpful historical context from the book's balance of detail and background information. Although the book may not be appealing to the general populace, it is quite accessible to readers beyond the academic community and presents unique connections between cultural and political entities and ideas.

I am confident that this book is credible because the contributors combine unique analysis with evidence from academic journals and experts in their fields.

Seth, Michael J. "South Korea's Economic Development, 1948–1996." ​Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History​, Oxford UP, 19 Dec. 2017, oxfordre.com/asianhistory/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190277727.001.0001/acrefore-978019027772 7-e-271. Accessed 11 Dec. 2019.

This article from the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History explains the different stages of South Korea's Economic Development between 1948–1996 and was very useful because it had an abundance of specific examples and details alongside context. While it is not a very complex read, it is dense and lengthy and thus most suitable for an audience of researchers. It provides a landscape perspective of time as it spans close to a half-century and is a close-up perspective of space as it focuses on South Korea.

I am confident it the credibility of this source because Seth cites 6 primary sources and references 37 books and journal entries written by experts in the field.

Shin, Yong-Ha. "Land Reform in Korea, 1950." ​Bulletin of the Population and Development Studies Center​, vol. 5, 1976, pp. 14-31. ​JSTOR​, www.jstor.org/stable/43798330.

This journal article on South Korea agricultural land reform in 1950 was published by the Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (ISDPR) in the ​Bulletin of the Population and Development Studies Center​ and made available on JSTOR for a high-level academic audience, as evidenced by its complex diction, data, and calculations. The article examines the background, process, and results of a land reform undertaken in South Korea in 1950 through a close-up perspective of time as it examines land reform and its effects on the following decade and a close-up perspective of space as it focuses solely on land reform in South Korea. This source helped deepen my understanding of the land tenure system and specific land reform policies, emphasizing the resulting implications on economic and social systems.

I know this that this source is credible because it was published in an academic journal and therefore went through thorough expert peer reviews and because the author cites numerous primary sources and official government documents.

Spielvogel, Jackson J. "Toward the Pacific Century: Development of the Asian Nations (1945 to Present)." World History: The Human Odyssey​, Cincinnati, West Educational Publishing, 1998, pp. 1104-05.

This source is a panoramic view of both time and space as it covers history from all over the world over a wide range of time and presents it in the form of a history textbook for students. With a simple explanation and context, this textbook is most suitable for a high school audience. Even though I didn't cite this source in my research paper, I read the section on South Korean development within the chapter that took a landscape perspective through time and space in regards to Asian Development from 1945 to present day, and the information was in my mind while researching and writing.

I know the source is reliable because Jackson J. Spielvogel, the author, is the associate professor of history at Pennsylvania State University and received the Penn State Teaching Fellowship in 1988, demonstrating his credibility and accomplishments as a historian.

Vance, Carter. "Assessing the Miracle on the Han River." ​Medium​, 30 July 2018, medium.com/@cartervance/assessing-the-miracle-on-the-han-river-8ef1ab293aab. Accessed 10 Dec. 2019.

Written simply for the diverse audience that reads blog posts and articles on Medium, this article provides a close-up perspective through space and a landscape perspective through time, focusing solely on the 40 year period of rapid economic development in South Korea that started in 1961 (i.e. The Miracle on the Han). The fact that this article has been published on Medium does not ensure its credibility, as Medium is an online publishing platform for social journalism and has a hybrid collection of amateur and expert writers, professional publications, or exclusive blogs or publishers.

However, the author, Carter Vance, has a master's degree from Carleton University's Institute of Political Economy and cites articles and academic journal entries from ten experts in the field, establishing the credibility of this particular article.

 

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