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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Mars and Manna: Defense Industry and the Economic Transformation of Korea under Park Chung Hee

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2018, v.58 no.3, pp.15-46
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2018.58.3.15
(University at Albany)
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Abstract

This paper examines the origins of South Korea’s industrial economy in the Park Chung Hee regime’s program for building a “self-reliant national defense” (jaju gukbang). Through independent arms development in the 1970s, Park’s technocrats engineered and launched the modernizing forces that propelled South Korea’s rapid economic growth, referred to as the “Miracle on the Hangang River.” From 1973 to 1979, the regime’s Heavy and Chemical Industrialization Plan (HCIP) systematically merged civilian industries with a state-controlled system of indigenous weapons production built from the ground up. Drawing strength from a defense-related infrastructure, HCIP rapidly advanced civilian technology and developed a highly skilled labor force, while simultaneously promoting private sector growth and exportation. As select civilian industries produced weapons, military technologies were diffused through “spin-off ” effects that built and expanded private-sector, export-based heavy and chemical industries. Deeply intertwined with economic development and export trade, South Korea’s burgeoning defense industry aggressively supported Park’s dual pursuits of “self-reliance” (jaju) in both national security and the economy. The legacy of South Korea’s independent military modernization is seen in the state’s enduring deep ties with what today represent the most technologically advanced and lucrative commercial industries in the Korean economy.

keywords
jaju gukbang Park Chung Hee heavy and chemical industrialization Korean economy defense industry chaebol South Korea

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