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Lee Teng-hui et la révolution tranquille de Taiwan [Jacinta Ho Kang-mei, Pierre L'Harmattan; HARMATTAN edition (September 1, ); Language: French.
Table of contents

The newspaper reports from the s, therefore, serve as an effective lens to peep into the social and political dynamics of the time. In is also noted that in the post-democratization era, the growing competition between political parties also reflected on the polarized standpoints taken by different media: Some take pro-business stances; 2 others represent a clear party inclination in their political orientation.

While business magazines i. Moreover, I draw on second-hand polls and surveys to indicate the general trend of popular attitudes towards certain issues. For instance, the longitudinal survey conducted by the Election Study Center at National Chengchi University provides reliable documentation of the long-term transformation of national and party identifications in Taiwan; the Mainland Affairs Council also conducts surveys both on long-term public attitudes toward cross-Strait political and economic affairs and short-term social responses to particular incidents.

Together, they provide indications of the ways in which geopolitical and geoeconomic situations are perceived in Taiwanese society. The variety of resources helps me develop a comprehensive understanding of the complex articulation between specific incidents, agencies, and discourses that formed particular historical conjunctures.

By doing so, I seek to provide a genuine politics-centered account of hegemonic struggles over trade and economic liberalization in Taiwan. Rather than relying on idealized 2 Commercial Times and Economic Daily News are the two major pro-business newspapers. They include the crisis in SME-led export-oriented accumulation regime due to global economic restructuring, geoeconomic pressures from the US for tariff reduction and New Taiwan Dollar currency appreciation, and rising populism coupled with the pro-democratization movement that challenged the legitimacy of KMT authoritarian regime which had remained in power since Highlighting the dialectical dynamics between political democratization and economic liberalization, it explains how the emergence of populist politics mediated the ways in which the structural crisis was addressed.

The state decision to let go of foreign-exchange controls and launch top-down democratization in kicked off a massive outward investment trend.


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Further articulation between populist struggles and post-Cold War geopolitical dynamics also led to decriminalization and deregulation of outward investment in China. Chapter 3, Twist and Turns to Trade Liberalization: Populism, Nationalism, and Embracing Free Trade, traces the populist and nationalist politics surrounding trade and the subsequent rise of the free-trade regime in Taiwan. It seeks to provide a dialectical account between market-led US hegemonic expansion and domestic struggles against party-state-capitalism — a process full of contradictions, paradoxes, and unexpectedness.

Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 explore the centrality of trade liberalization and economic deterritorialization in the hegemonic restructuring of the post-democratization era of the s. Specifically, it unravels the conjunctures from which the populist authoritarian regime formed a contingent alliance with the neoliberalists in promoting economic regionalism along with the construction of the post-democratization nation-state.

Chapter 5, Re-articulating the Nation-people Nexus in the Deterritorialized Economy II: Geopolitical Economy and the Neoliberal Excursion, further illustrates how hegemonic restructuring of the state is achieved through articulation with the increasingly deterritorialized economy, which produced the passive revolution in response to the growing populist attack on the party-state-capitalism under KMT.

Chapter 7, When Neoliberalism Meets the United Front Strategies: Advances, Disturbances, and Ruptures, tackles the gradually intricate dynamics between neoliberalization and cross-Strait geopolitical economy. It proceeds to depict how the KMT regime launched a full-blown neoliberal agenda, from cross-Strait financial deregulation to signing up comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement ECFA by appropriating the very same Taiwanese nationalist and populist discourses that had prevailed under the DPP.

However, far from assuming neoliberalism has finally reached hegemonic status, I unravel a number of key sites of struggles and the ways in which nationalism and populism mediated these struggles.


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  8. While discussing the limits of such a strategy, it also sheds light on the persistent effects and potential of the populist intervention in the course of neoliberalization henceforward. Introduction Conjunctural analysis has proved to be productive in studying hegemonic crisis and path to neoliberalization across different historical and geographical contexts. Originated from Gramscian theory, conjunctural analysis investigates neoliberalism as a political project transcoding long existing social, economic and political forces, imaginaries, and practices within and across hegemonic groups through multiple forms of crisis, especially in its transnational articulation.

    It also attends to variegated, sometimes contradictory, discursive practices at multiple sites in a particular historical moment and therefore illustrates rather contingent outcomes of neoliberalization. For societies caught in the postcolonial conditions, populist and nationalist politics plays a crucial role in such a project, where impulses of economic liberalization often come in tandem with emerging struggles for democratization and reconfiguration of nationalist politics within society.

    As such, the ways in which these evolving social and political trends articulated with liberalization impulses, as well as their distinct outcomes, present a rather complicated story to tell. To illustrate the process, I examine the ways in which emerging political forces—oppositional movement and populist politics—reshaped the official economic agenda and redirected policy orientation.

    The review sheds light on the statist tendency dominating prevailing analyses of trade and foreign economic liberalization and hints at the shortcomings of this statism. I examine the precursor of trade and economic liberalization in Taiwan, foreign exchange reserves and its deregulation. Specifically, I illustrate how foreign exchange was transformed from an issue of internal struggles within the governing regime to a populist concern, against the backdrop of a rising popular movement whose project was made more convoluted by the force of NTD currency adjustment.

    Liberalization of Trade and Foreign Economic Policies in Taiwan: the Statist Approach and Its Critique Economic liberalization refers to a wide array of policy initiatives ranging from privatization of state-owned enterprises SOEs , the opening of domestic market, to the pursuit of financial deregulation. In the real world, these policies are usually implemented in a discrepant manner as a result of complex dynamics between external and internal forces at particular historical conjunctures.

    These approaches not only yield discrepant evaluations of policy outcomes and their implications to state capacity, but also utilize very different analytical lenses in explicating their drivers see Figure 2. Despite discrepant outcomes in different policy domains and the dichotomous assessment of their influence on the autonomy and capacity of the developmental state, they are commonly attributed to endogenous forces working to restructure internal state-society relations, with the capital class gradually dominating the policy forming procedure.

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    On the contrary, research on liberalization of trade and foreign economic policies usually draws on the theoretical framework of neoliberal hegemony, where neoliberalization is deemed exogenous and materialized in the rise of US market-access hegemony Li ; Tsai ; Dent a. Scholarship of this kind largely holds a firmer stance on the persistence of state autonomy and capacity in accommodating, harnessing, and utilizing externally imposed neoliberal forces for its own benefit against pressure from the US to liberalize.

    Neoliberal hegemony from afar and proactive adaptation by bureaucrats from within has become the dominant explanatory framework in the literature on liberalization of trade and foreign economic policies, where the state is viewed as the active agent responding to external hegemonic forces for marketization. Scholarship of this kind shares the following theoretical presumptions: it conceives neoliberal hegemony as emanating from a single source—Western economic doctrine—with local adaptations, it emphasizes the oppressive nature of neoliberal hegemony, and it sees the state as the major site from which to confront externally imposed neoliberal forces, in which political elites and state bureaucrats serve as the major agents.

    Foreign economic policies contain greater knowledge barriers and therefore seem opaque to the populace, and state bureaucrats continued to enjoy autonomy because corporatism was effectively curbed to avoid its influence in central decision-making processes, and Taiwanese civil society had not yet developed the capacity to challenge state-business relationships. However, their approach to economic nationalism is rather instrumentalist Crane Moreover, the statist approach obscures as much as it reveals about the ascendency of neoliberalism in a particular space-time and its underpinning political forces.

    As Barnett , p. Instead, they favor elite-focused analyses of state bureaucracies, policy networks, and the like. The domestic turmoil originated in fast-changing international dynamics of the s, when the One-China policy and the official Chinese nationalism imposed by the KMT regime after its retreat to Taiwan in began to face fundamental legitimacy crises. More importantly, the political dissidents arising from the democratization movement managed to make their way into the parliament via election with limited seats open to indigenous Taiwanese. Most of these political leaders were founders of the Formosa Magazine, which promoted democracy and freedom against the authoritarian KMT regime that imposed martial law in Taiwan.

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    On the one hand, the SME-driven export business experienced a decline in international competitiveness due to a rise in labor costs; the domestic economy also showed stagnation in investment with excessive savings, hinting at a serious imbalance of money supply. Inauguration of the Committee marked a significant restructuring of the ruling coalition in Taiwan from the s, where for the first time academic elites and business representatives were incorporated in the top decision-making mechanism of the government. Guided by the overarching principle of liberalization, the Committee spent six months conducting a thorough review of five major economic areas: finance, fiscal and taxation, trade, industrial plans, and economic administration.

    It concluded with fifty-six detailed proposals for different government branches to carry out economic reform initiatives. Although the consensus achieved by different committee members represents a paradigm shift to economic liberalization among the ruling class, the proposed measures are characteristic of being careful and gradual, rather than a prompt pursuit of drastic liberalization.

    Such a liberalizing scheme based on a sense of practicability also reflects on the proposal for trade and foreign economic liberalization. In its Report released in , the Committee advocated for market principles to replace state control over trade, including further tariff reduction; it also proposed non-orthodox free trade means such as encouraging countertrade practices.

    In , foreign exchange control based on an approval system—enforced since World War II—was terminated, replaced by a spontaneous report system. Even the policy review published by the Committee in expressed surprise at the extent to which liberalization of foreign exchange control had been accomplished by the Central Bank compared to other liberalization measures—many of which were halfheartedly implemented due to institutional path dependence.


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    Apparently, such unprecedented transformation is not explicable solely by the paradigm shift among the governing elites or power restructuring of the ruling class. One has to look elsewhere to find better explanations.

    It is where the page turns. The Joys and Dilemmas of National Wealth Foreign Exchange Reserves as a Form of National Wealth Although the Taiwanese governing elites had reached a consensus about the scope, scale and pace of liberalization for various economic fields by the mids, mounting foreign exchange reserves and their control emerged unexpectedly as a highly debated issue.

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    Under such a policy rationale, all the overseas profits made by private business in the form of foreign currency were required to be sold back to the Central Bank in exchange for New Taiwan Dollars, and monetary outflow was highly restricted. When the Republic of China in Taiwan lost its UN membership in , it was subsequently disqualified from participating in international financial organizations such as the World Bank and IMF.

    Ever since then, foreign exchange reserves developed much broader symbolic power than as merely the basis for war preparation by the state. It includes the capability of repaying foreign debt, determines the purchasing power of the state, and serves as an overall emblem of the economic power of a nation. The excessive trade surplus brought by exportism, mediated by the mechanism of foreign exchange control, ultimately contributed to the consistent growth of foreign exchange reserves from the early s in Taiwan see Figure 2.

    After the mids, it further grew exponentially until the year The mounting foreign exchange reserves subsequently became the symbol of 40 national wealth, as Taiwan became the 6th ranked state in foreign exchange reserves and the highest ranked in per capita terms.

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    Such an unprecedented accumulation of national wealth was hence hailed by the Taiwanese government as the demonstration of its efficacy in guiding the economic development of the entire country—especially in comparison with developing countries mired in huge amounts of foreign debt, South Korea in particular. Apprehension regarding the role of the Central Bank and the negative effects its stringent foreign exchange control might cause arose among the Western-trained liberal economists and business leaders, both of whom were gaining prestige in the ruling class.

    Such warnings first forced the Central Bank to promise suspension of massive surveillance for illegal evasion of foreign exchange. Economic Daily, Different opinions within the government body also resonated with the highly divergent voices from scholars who occupied important positions in providing policy advice to the state. The competing voices thus manifested internal struggles among the ruling class over the economy. They believed that the core problem of the mounting foreign exchange reserve was not financial or trade induced and therefore could not be USD million 42 solved via trade or financial means alone.

    Rather, it signaled a quandary of the old development model based on light manufacturing; only industrial upgrades could help with the situation. As a result, there was growing advocacy for trade and economic liberalization as a means to address the problem associated with mounting foreign exchange reserve—an equally influential policy initiative that is often neglected in industry-focused developmental state analysis. Such advocacy ranged from further opening of domestic markets to deregulation of foreign exchange control.

    Trade liberalization was therefore endorsed as a way to restore market principle. Such advocacy gained much currency as liberal economists were gradually incorporated in the ruling alliance in the s, and, as early as , the Economic Reform Committee proposed large-scale tariff reductions. Yet the government abruptly rejected the proposal, insisting that to avoid capital drain, overseas investment should not be hastily deregulated or even encouraged. These ideas were embraced by a number of business leaders, Koo Chen-Fu for instance. United Daily News, Most importantly, discrepant opinions regarding the foreign exchange reserve and its deregulation remained an internal struggle over different development paths by different strata of the ruling class and therefore was still rendered a top-down reform initiative.

    The discourse of security was so prevalent that it outdid other competing discourses from different strata of the government. Personnel hiring between governing agencies relevant to monetary policies together with the discourse of security manifest significant elements of institutional continuity regarding the decision for foreign exchange control. Nonetheless, growing involvement of economists and business representatives in the policy-making mechanism transformed the standpoint held by the conservative monetary regulatory regime piece by piece. In a nutshell, owing to both the institutional continuity and political compromise achieved 45 through extending corporatism, the government was able to take a managerial and piecemeal approach to address the liberalization appeal from within the ruling class.

    As Taiwan bypassed Japan and became the third largest foreign-exchange-reserve holding country in the world in , the business magazines—most of which came into existence in the s as a result of the emerging entrepreneurial social atmosphere and political democratization—started to jump on the bandwagon of social criticism. With the aid of media, the issue of escalating foreign exchange reserves was rapidly popularized and then problematized among the public.

    A number of legislators even utilized patriotic rhetoric by contending that depositing the money in foreign banks without using it was simply like helping other countries with their own economic development. The question of excessive foreign exchange reserve no longer remained a problem exclusive to the ruling elites but had become a concern among the public, mediated through the loosening of media environment and the burgeoning business press. In this transformation, pressure from the US served as the major—although not the only—driver. In the mids, Taiwan faced a gradual slow-down in its economic growth as a consequence of the aforementioned structural constraints.

    Yet, advice regarding how to employ currency measures to address the problem bifurcated among the ruling class. The year witnessed a strong return of US trade protectionism after years of recession as a consequence of USD over-appreciation. In September , the US reached the Plaza Accord with Japan, Western Germany, France and the United Kingdom to depreciate the USD against major currencies as a way to address its trade deficit and the rising protectionist appeal from the domestic environment.

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    Its influence was worldwide though. In Taiwan, the pace of USD depreciation became so drastic and deep—a drop of nearly ten percent within a week—that the Central Bank in Taiwan had to intervene in the currency market by buying more USD in order to peg the currency rate.