This book examines the differences in technology development across industries in Korea, and the ruling government at the time of policy enactment. Traditionally, Korean technology policy has been made by the President in consultation with his chief economic assistant and the Deputy Prime Minister/EPB Minister. Below this sub-presidency, the Ministries of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Science and Technology (MOST) have fought a long struggle for domination of S&T policy, in which MTI has gradually gained the upper hand. Korean S&T policy has changed greatly, as each regime since 1961 has constituted a different policymaking system. During the Third Republic (1962-1972), President Park relied on a few close advisers in making most key decisions, while the Fourth Republic (1972-1980) saw a more diffuse process, with key presidential decisions becoming mere ratifications of matters determined by MOST. Major economic changes during the Fifth Republic (1980-1987) catapulted Korea into the high tech era. As a consequence, the chaebol (family-run conglomerates) became partners of the state, and in some cases operated independently in developing key technologies.
Then, in the early Sixth Republic (1987-1993), the chaebol took the lead in S&T development, as the state became mired in various policy disputes and turf battles. Korean technology development has differed by technology. The state played the lead role in development of the TDX telephone switching system, but played only a supporting role to the electronics giants in development of either personal computers or memory integrated circuits. In biotechnology, the state was relatively ineffective at indigenizing an emerging industry.