I agree to the importance of egalitarian land and agrarian reforms, but emphasize the importance of institutional and political arrangements with more accurate historical facts of Asian countries, in particular South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines.
The South Korean land reform which was initiated by the US occupation force, but continuously carried out by the first South Korean government in larger scale was not only a politically motivated policy to reduce the power of land owners, but also a tool to respond to increasing demand for land distribution from the organizations and social movement at the grass root level. (UNRISD Research and Policy Brief 14 (2012) )
Demand from the organized people at the grass root level, and a space for democracy, although limited, were two important factors to push the Korean government to implement land reforms.The recognition of the importance of "land-to-tiller" style land reform among the policy makers which resulted from the war experience, was also an important factor for egalitarian land reforms in both South Korea and Taiwan. (Taiwanese officials had a genuine attitude for “land-to-tiller” style land reform since there was a widely agreed consensus that the downfall of the Nationalist regime in mainland China had been associated with excessive concentration of land ownership together with hyper inflation (see Lundberg 1979 Economic Growth and Structural Change in Taiwan). The message would be that we need to have institutional and political arrangements (certainly not those destructive forms such as war, or conflicts) to spread that recognition among the policy makers. In contrast to the cases of South Korea and Taiwan, despite the strong demand from the organized peasants (such as the Huk movement which became the basis of the New People’s Army(NPA) in the late 1960s), the political regime in the Philippines based on 300-400 land-owning class or “oligarch” families at the provincial level, did not implement land reform.
Agrarian reforms "to raise agricultural productivity, incomes, and an investable surplus for industry" in successful Asian economies could produce outcomes since they have been supported and financed by various mechanisms of redistribution, in particular redistribution from urban to rural. The impact of legacies of Japanese colonial policies on the agricultural development, in particular on the green revolution, is controversial since the green revolution in the case of South Korea only took off in the 1970s, almost 30 years after the independence. Other institutional arrangements, in particular various redistributive mechanisms played a significant role in the process of the rural development in these countries. Both Taiwan and South Korea had government's grain procurement schemes in which the government purchases the farmers' production at the price higher than production costs. It is notable that in both cases, the concomitant development in both industrial and agricultural sectors and transfers of the gains from manufacturing industries, in particular export sector, to rural sector contributed to reducing the gaps of incomes and level of living between urban and rural areas (for Korean case, see Douglass, M.(2014) The Saemaul Undong in Historical Perspective and in the Contemporary World )
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