James Lee, Politics, PhD
Thursday February 18, 5 pm
A light dinner will be served. Please RSVP here by Wednesday evening: http://goo.gl/forms/7KqEp1xGmW
It is widely recognized by economists and political scientists that the foundations of Taiwan's economic miracle were laid in a series of reforms in 1958-1962 that marked a transition to an export-oriented development strategy. However, the ultimate cause of these reforms has been subject to dispute. Some scholars argue that Taiwan's outward orientation was a function of its internal political characteristics, while others claim that the United States forced the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to adopt reform. I argue that these explanations are too simplistic. It is at the intersection of domestic and international politics that Taiwan's outward development strategy should be understood. Drawing on historical evidence from the period, I argue that the United States persuaded the Nationalists would serve their strategic interests in the Cold War, altering the domestic political balance in favor of reform.