Reshaping Regional Policy
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Reshaping Regional Policy

Edited by Harry W. Richardson, Chang-Hee Christine Bae and Sang-Chuel Choe

Originally initiated by the Presidential Committee on Regional Development in South Korea, this wide-ranging volume investigates the new directions in regional development policy taking shape around the world. In addition to contributions with individual emphasis on regional policy in Korea, the book compares, contrasts and extends regional policy thought in the European Union and other Asian countries.
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Chapter 13: Identity and Inequality in Planning: Implications for Regional Development

Eric J. Heikkila


Eric J. Heikkila INTRODUCTION This chapter was motivated originally by my early experience as a young assistant professor at USC during the late 1980s and early 1990s, where we had (and still have) a steady stream of bright PhD students from Korea. Many of those students were interested in undertaking research to address their concerns for what they considered to be inequitable regional development policies in South Korea that led to lagging economic development in the southwest Jolla region. While I was naturally sympathetic at one level, I nonetheless began to develop nagging doubts about the underlying philosophical premise behind such concerns. That is, why should we care about the spatial distribution of poor households above and beyond the fact that they are poor? Would it be somehow better if a given number of poor households might be moved from Jolla region to some other part of the country, even if they still remain poor? What justification might we have for believing so? Not long after I began to pose these questions for myself, I overheard a radio interview with someone who was discussing issues of economic development in Zimbabwe. That person asserted with great assurance that it was immoral to have 10 percent of the population who were white being wealthy while 90 percent of the population who were black were left in poverty. Again, similar questions arose in my mind. Would we consider Zimbabwe to be better off if 10 percent of whites and blacks were wealthy while...

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