A consistent theme of the literature on the ontology of the 1997 South Korean crisis is the key role played by regulatory failures and the growing weakness of the state. This paper seeks to briefly highlight both the insights and the limitations of this approach to understanding the crisis. Having done so, we shall set out the argument that the crisis created an opportunity for reformist Korean élites to advance their longstanding, but previously frustrated, project to create a comprehensive unambiguously neo-liberal regulatory regime. This paper will also seek to highlight the implications of our reading of the development of the Korean political economy for broader debates on economic liberalisation, crisis and the future of the developmental state
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