To add to your interesting interchange:
I would much like to equate democracy with egalitarian land and agrarian reforms, but in Asia that has ironically not always been the case.
a) Land reforms are a much needed macro agenda: much needed to increase productivity and incomes for the peasantry, and to provide cheaper wage goods, inputs, and domestic purchasing power for industrialisation.
However they were carried out in South Korea (and if I mistake not Taiwan) by the US occupation forces under General Douglas McArthur, to reduce the political power of the land owning class. Their perhaps unintended result was to provide the above enabling macro conditions permitting both countries to embark on industrialisation.
b) Agrarian reforms are also a much needed macro agenda to raise productivity, through technical change in inputs, to raise agricultural productivity, incomes, and an investible surplus for industry.
However In Korea this took place under colonial Japanese occupation earlier in the 20th century. Japanese need for a breadbasket led them to introduce high yielding forms of Ponlai rice and other supporting inputs into Korea. This enabled Korea to have an earlier green revolution compared to South and South East Asia which awaited the introduction of HYVs in the 60s.
Irrigation reform took place in South Asia through the development of canals by the colonial British administration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, raising productivity and incomes in the Panjab. This did not however translate into investible surpluses into industry, because the British were smultaneously dumping C and K goods in India to provide a market for their own industrial revolution in the competition for markets with continnetal Europe.
Hence the aptness of the adage, 'men' make history, but not always in ways they want to.
(Andrea good to catch up with you after ages)
Deputy Director Research
International Labour Organization (ILO)
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