Why corporatism failed : comparing South Africa and South Korea

Kim, Yejoo (2014-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this study the aim is to examine what the impact of the imbalance in the power dynamics between the state, business and labour is on corporatist institutions in South Africa and South Korea. In both countries, the corporatist institutions have failed to bring the actors together and to resolve the various issues as these institutions were expected to do. When looking at the establishment of corporatist institutions in the two countries it is clear that the state had to incorporate the interests of labour in their decision-making process due to the increasing power of labour during the democratisation process. However, the current situation proves that the corporatist institutions in South Africa and South Korea have faced various problems. Therefore why the corporatist institutions in the two countries have not functioned properly is explored in this study. It was found that labour has been placed at a disadvantage compared to the state and business. The influence of labour as an agenda setter and a representative of labour has diminished. On the other hand the state and business, which used to form a coalition under the authoritarian governments, have started gaining power along with globalisation. The adoption of neo-liberal economic policies, has resulted in the fragmentation of labour, generating unemployment and irregular jobs. The imbalance of power between the actors has negatively affected the corporatist institutions. Under the circumstances, the corporatist institutions did not ensure that the voice of labour was heard and heeded. Instead of using corporatism, labour in South Africa tends to use the tripartite alliance in order to advance its interests. Labour in South Korea is likely to use mass action, and this tendency prevails in South Africa as well. Also, the corporatist institutions have been criticised due to their lack of accountability and institutional problems; this has negatively affected their credibility. The corporatist institutions have become little more than names. In the cases of South Africa and South Korea, corporatism seems to have been adopted as a mere crisis response when the two countries faced political economic crises and it is seen as another control mechanism created by states experiencing democratisation. Furthermore, the imbalance in the relationship between actors negatively affected the corporatist institutions and in the end they collapsed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie word die impak van die magsbalans tussen die staat, sakesektor en georganiseerde arbeid op korporatisme in Suid-Afrika en Suid-Korea ondersoek. In beide gevalle het die korporatiewe instellings nie daarin geslaag om die nodige konsensus tussen die drie sleutel akteurs te bewerkstellig nie. As gevolg van demokratiseringsprosesse in beide state, en die toenemende invloed van arbeid, was die staat verplig om die belange van arbeid in besluitnemingsprosesse in ag te neem. Die korporatiewe instellings in Suid-Afrika, nl. NEDLAC en die KTC in Suid-Korea staar egter verskeie probleme in die gesig, Waarom die korporatiewe instellings nie behoorlik gefunksioneer het nie, word in die studie onder die loep geneem. Arbeid het in ‘n onderdanige posisie jeens die staat en die sake sektor te staan gekom aangesien die invloed van georganiseerde arbeid as ‘n agenda skepper en verteenwoordiger van arbeid afgeneem het. Aan die ander kant het die aanvanklike koalisie tussen die staat en die sakesektor gedurende die outoritere periodes - voor demokratisering - weer eens verstewig as gevolg van die invloed van globalisering. Namate neo-liberale ekonomiese beleide nagevolg is, het die vakbond beweging al meer gedisintegreer, werkloosheid het toegeneem en gelei tot werksgeleenthede wat al meer tydelik en ongereguleer is. Die ongelyke magsbalans tussen die rolspelers het die korporatistiese instellings negatief beinvloed. Onder die omstandighede, kon die korporatistiese instellings nie daarin slaag om aan die stem van arbeid gehoor te gee soos wat gehoop is nie. In plaas daarvan om dus van die korporatistiese instellings gebruik te maak, het arbeid in Suid-Afrika eerder van die vakbond beweging se rol in die regerende alliansie gebruik gemaak om beleid te probeer beinvloed. Arbeid in Suid-Korea, soos in Suid-Afrika, is ook meer geneig om van massa aksie gebruik te maak. Daarbenewens is die korporatiewe instellings daarvan beskuldig dat hulle nie deursigtig is nie en gebuk gaan onder institutionele gebreke, wat die geloofwaardigheid van die instellings ondermyn het. In die Suid-Afrikaanse en Suid-Koreaanse gevalle blyk dit dat korporatisme bloot as ‘n soort ‘krisis reaksie’ tot ekonomiese en politieke probleme ontwikkel het – in samehang met demokratisering - en nie as diepgaande beieldsprosesse in eie reg nie. Die gebrek aan ‘n magsbalans tussen die drie rolspelers het daartoe gelei dat die korporatiewe instellings in beide gevalle effektief tot niet gekom het.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95881
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