This chapter examines developmental corruption in South Korea and Taiwan, with particular emphasis on the role of corruption in the formation and consolidation of pro-growth “developmental alliances” that linked the ruling party's political interests to the economic interests of big business. During the 1980s, proponents of the “developmental state” model tended to downplay the importance of corruption in East Asia. Chalmers Johnson, for example, acknowledged that extensive “structural corruption” was present in Japan but brushed it aside, arguing that corrupt politicians merely reigned while honest technocrats ruled. This chapter argues that “structural corruption,” also known as “political corruption,” was an integral part of politics, and that “dirty money” bound together and sustained the conservative, pro-business political coalitions found at the core of the so-called developmental state. It also considers structural corruption as a necessary precondition for rapid economic growth.
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