Neither Public Nor Private: The Perils Of Party Capitalism In Taiwan

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Conference Papers -- Western Political Science Association


Politics and Government


Although scholars and policymakers alike have long debated the relative virtues and vices of both state and private capital in developing economies (e.g., Waterbury), less analytical attention has been paid to the many variants of corporate ownership that fall between public and private control. As perhaps the most successful instance of political-economic development the world has ever known, Taiwan provides a rich and significant analytical case. Historically, Taiwan was governed by a quasi-Leninist developmental party-state that first impeded but ultimately structured both the privatization (ownership) and marketization (control) of quasi-socialist forms of corporate ownership and control. This has resulted in Taiwan?s current system of variegated property rights and diffuse mechanisms of corporate governance, including a thriving Nationalist Party-owned enterprise sector. This paper will examine this evolutionary process of corporate transformation and note both its theoretical and comparative implications.