Resurrecting Industrial Policy as Development Policy based on Korean Experiences
& Sung-Kyu Lee
Published: December 2019
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the key economic policy paradigm of the Park Chung-hee administration in Korea was based on a ‘heavy-chemical industrialisation policy’, not ‘export-led growth policy’ as insisted by mainstream economics academia. It also aims to suggest a new theory of industrial policy based on both the General Theory of Economic Development and Korea’s experiences of successful industrial policies. A pro-market industrial policy is a prerequisite for a country’s economic leap forward, and this is evident in Korea’s experiences of successful industrial policies. It is suggested that the market, the corporation and the government need to complement each other in order to contribute to a leapfrogging economic development, and the government should carry out ‘industrial policies by promoting the corporate growth through the principle of economic discrimination based on reward and penalty’, thereby reinforcing the market’s discrimination function. In Korea’s experience, the economies based on the principle of economic discrimination achieved success while those based on egalitarianism and the ideology of economic democratisation ended in failure or achieved only minor success. Therefore, the presented theory of industrial policy based on the principle of economic discrimination advocated by the General Theory of Economic Development is consistent with Korea’s past experiences with industrial policies.