The rapid growth of Taiwan’s postwar “miracle” economy is most frequently credited to the leading role of the state in promoting economic development. Megan Greene challenges this standard interpretation in the first in-depth examination of the origins of Taiwan’s developmental state.
Greene examines the ways in which the Guomindang state planned and promoted scientific and technical development both in mainland China between 1927 and 1949 and on Taiwan after 1949. Using industrial science policy as a lens, she shows that the state, even during its most authoritarian periods, did not function as a monolithic entity. State planners were concerned with maximizing the use of Taiwan’s limited resources for industrial development. Political leaders, on the other hand, were most concerned with the state’s political survival. The developmental state emerged gradually as a result of the combined efforts of technocrats and outsiders, including academicians and foreign advisors. Only when the political leadership put its authority and weight behind the vision of these early planners did Taiwan’s developmental state fully come into being.
In Taiwan’s combination of technocratic expertise and political authoritarianism lie implications for our understanding of changes taking place in mainland China today.
The idea of the 'scientific management' of an economy was discussed everywhere and little practiced anywhere over the course of the twentieth century. One exception is the case of Taiwan's economic miracle after 1949. Megan Greene shows that this was a Chinese and international endeavor, based on enduring trends in science, technology, and economic planning on the Chinese mainland under Nationalist rule--patterns that reasserted themselves in the People's Republic after the end of Maoism. To understand better contemporary China's technocratic inheritance, read this book.
A superb work of scholarship and a valuable addition to our knowledge of both China's and Taiwan's development. Greene examines the development of state policy toward science and technology, showing how key individuals and state agencies developed and advanced agendas in sometimes unexpected ways. This book is an important contribution to Taiwan studies, Chinese economic history, and the history of science and technology in Taiwan and China.
Greene's book is more than the history of industrial science policy. It adds nuance and new information to the debate over Taiwan's economic 'miracle.' She expertly analyzes the continuity between Nationalist policies on the mainland and Taiwan, making the book vital to scholars of Republican China and Taiwan, but those who study economic development in Japan and South Korea will find this useful for comparative purposes. Finally, Greene offers a fresh perspective on the Cold War contributions of American aid and advice to Taiwan's modernization.
Greene's tightly argued and fluidly written book fills a major gap in our understanding of the developmental state in Taiwan: the role of state support for science and education. Because the KMT regime was focused primarily on survival and mainland recovery in its early years, it was only under pressure from foreign sources and its own intellectual community that it began to emphasize these key building blocks. Greene's speculations on the relevance of the Taiwan experience for the developmentalist regime on the mainland are particularly noteworthy.
- 238 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
Sorry, there was an error adding the item to your shopping bag.
Sorry, your session has expired. Please refresh your browser's tab.