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The Long Road to Making Money: How Taiwanese Industrialists Embraced the Global Economy

February 20, 2018

February 20, 2018 7PM

HUB Room 332

Professor Cheng-shu Kao (Feng Chia University, Taiwan)

Professor Gary Hamilton (UW)

Making Money: How Taiwanese Industrialists Embraced the Global Economy is a record of a thirty-year research project that we began in 1987. A distinguished sociologist and university administrator in Taiwan, Kao and his research team (which included Hamilton during his frequent visits to Taiwan) interviewed over 800 owners and managers of Taiwanese firms in Taiwan, China, and Vietnam. Some were re-interviewed over ten times during this period. The length of this project allows us a vantage point to challenge the conventional interpretations of Asian industrialization and to present a new interpretation of the global economy that features an enduring alliance between, on the one hand, American and European retailers and merchandisers and, on the other hand, Asian contract manufacturers. As we will explain, for a variety of reasons, Taiwanese industrialists have been the most prominent contract manufacturers in Asia for the past forty years.

Cheng-shu Kao is Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Chair Professor of Management at Feng Chia University and Honorary Professor of Sociology at Tunghai University, both in Taichung City, Taiwan. Recognized by the Ministry of Education as one of Taiwan’s leading sociologists, he is known for his research in Taiwan’s small and medium firms, for which he has received multiple long-term grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology (formerly the National Science Council). He held several fellowships, including one with the Harvard-Yenching Institute at Harvard University and one at Catholic Leuven University, Leuven, Belgium. He is the author of numerous reports, articles and books, including a book on Weber and Habermas and Toujia Niang (The Boss’s Wife), which is a study of the role of wives in the running of Taiwanese family-owned businesses. He was the former president of the Chinese Sociological Association in Taiwan.

Gary G. Hamilton is a Professor Emeritus of International Studies and Sociology at the University of Washington. He specializes in historical/comparative sociology, economic sociology, with a special emphasis on Asian societies. He is an author of numerous articles and books, including most recently Emergent Economies, Divergent Paths, Economic Organization and International Trade in South Korea and Taiwan (with Robert Feenstra) (Cambridge University Press, 2006), Commerce and Capitalism in Chinese Societies (London: Routledge, 2006), The Market Makers: How Retailers Are Changing the Global Economy (co-editor and contributor, Oxford University Press, 2011; paperback 2012), and Making Money: How Taiwanese Industrialists Embraced the Global Economy (with Kao Cheng-shu, Stanford University Press, 2018).