2010, pp 309-328

The Globalization of Care in Taiwan: From Undutiful Daughter-in-law to Cold-blooded Migrant Killer

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Abstract

Scholars of welfare state regimes have characterised welfare states in East Asian countries as predominantly productivist developmental states with a Confucian culture (Holliday 2000; Wood/Gough 2006; Kwon 2005; Lee/Ku 2007; Jones 1993). That is, caring for frail family members is considered to be a family responsibility under the influence of Confucianism, rather than a social issue to be dealt with by the state. In terms of public intervention, social policies are subordinate to economic policies, which are aimed at economic development (productivist). Social expenditures are heavily weighted towards education or investment in human capital (developmental). Although welfare states in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan share these characteristics, what distinguishes Taiwan from South Korea and Japan in its response to population ageing is its recruitment of semi-skilled migrant domestic care workers during the last seventeen years, which is the focus of this analysis.