In an attempt to adjust to economic globalization or internationalization, East Asian developmental states have liberalized their domestic economic systems, accelerating the introduction of the free‐market ideology. Despite their plan to establish the internationally compatible open‐market economy, however, the extent to which they can advance economic liberalization is limited. Political and economic burdens that the developmental state's extensive intervention in the market has incurred in the course of state‐led mercantile economic development, make it impossible for those states to execute full‐scale economic liberalization. The South Korean case clearly shows this. The Korean developmental state retains two major economic burdens: the exclusive ownership and the poor financial structure of the chaebôl. Insofar as Korean big business preserves those weak spots, the government cannot surrender the power of regulation despite its spontaneous implementation of the economic liberalization policy. In addition, the common ‘egoistic’ interests which government bureaucrats and the political class share also limit the degree to which economic liberalization policy can be implemented. The degree of state intervention in the market in Korea has been deeper than that in Japan which pioneered Asian developmental statism, and, thus, the political and economic burdens it has incurred for itself are heavier. Consequently, the East Asian developmental state cannot entirely withdraw its intervention in the market. The ‘support’ of industries is likely to diminish, but ‘regulation’ for the formation of the autonomous market will increase. For the Korean developmental state, globalization and economic liberalization are political economic slogans to re‐launch economic growth and to elevate the international economic competitiveness of industries under the initiative of the state, and motivated by nationalistic reasons. Hence, the role of the state in the market is still far from becoming redundant even in the tide of globalization and economic liberalization in the case of South Korea, where the legacy of strong developmental statism remains considerable.

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