The State Meets Business
This chapter explains the development of occupational welfare, one of the major pillars of the Korean welfare state, through the analysis of the relationship between state, capital, and labor. Government-capital relations had never taken the form of one-sided command, even under the hardest authoritarianism. It has been always tugs of war, albeit in shifting ways, regulated by give and take, tacit and explicit negotiation. Under the government’s manipulation, controls and repression in both authoritarian and democratic periods, albeit with varying degrees, huge working class created by rapid industrialization could not organize themselves, be it in unionization or political representation, as a strong force in the reshaping of Korean economy and society. This continuously tumultuous and complicated process resulted in the Korean brand of occupational welfare which was a device to control both employers and workers on the one hand and to combine social responsiveness with single-minded promotion of economic growth on the other
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