Confronting the Costs of Its past Success: Revisiting Taiwan's Post-Authoritarian Political and Economic Development



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Wiley Periodicals


The evolution of Taiwan's political economy seems paradoxical. From the 1960s to 1980s, Taiwan went through economic transformations that have been called an “economic miracle.” This was followed by a successful democratic transition from the late 1980s to mid-1990s that might be considered a “political miracle.” In the early 1990s, Taiwan could be regarded as a success story and a model for developing nations. Yet, Taiwan was soon to “enter troubled waters” marked by growing conflict and threat from China (PRC), fears about the “hollowing out” of its previously vaunted economy, and vicious polarization and gridlock in its domestic politics. We argue that many of the challenges facing Taiwan derive from unanticipated and unintended costs of its previous successes. In particular, what worked to promote successful economic and political development at one point later became counterproductive in the changed circumstances created by the country's rapid developmental trajectory. Our basic research questions, hence, are whether the challenges currently facing Taiwan's political economy can be explained by the country's past pattern of development and, if so, whether these linkages appear to be connected to success or failures in Taiwan's history. © 2018 Policy Studies Organization


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Success, Economic development, Nationalism, Polarization (Social sciences), Political development, Taiwan


©2018 Policy Studies Organization