East Asian Welfare Regimes in Transition: From Confucianism to Globalisation

East Asian Welfare Regimes in Transition: From Confucianism to Globalisation

East Asian Welfare Regimes in Transition: From Confucianism to Globalisation

East Asian Welfare Regimes in Transition: From Confucianism to Globalisation


Eastern welfare systems have largely been neglected by Western social policy. There is very little information in the West about their operation and the differences between them. Yet, as China and South-East Asia emerge as a major regional economic block, it is vital to understand the social models that are in operation there and how they are developing. This book puts the spotlight on the Chinese and South-East Asian welfare systems, providing an up-to-date assessment of their character and development. In particular it examines the underlying assumptions of these systems and how the processes of globalisation are impacting on them. As well as specific country case studies, there is a valuable comparative analysis of Eastern and Western welfare states.The book provides a unique insight into the main South-East Asian welfare systems written by experts living and working within them. It focuses on 'Confucianism' and globalisation to provide an account of tradition and change within the South-East Asian cultural context.Eastern welfare states in transition will be essential reading for students of social policy requiring an understanding of non-Western welfare systems. Policy makers and practitioners who are interested in how Eastern welfare systems are adapting to globalisation will also find it an important read.


This book has been a long time in the making. Its origins lie in our first meeting in Sheffield in 1987, the day after the spectacular stock market crash. More recently our joint paper published in 1996 was an argument against the exclusion of East Asian welfare systems, especially China’s, from the welfare state ‘club’ and the ethnocentrism of western social policy research. Eight years on, it is not possible to say that this exclusion and ethnocentrism have been overcome in the analysis of welfare systems, but there are certainly more publications on welfare in China and East Asia and signs of a growing interest in this topic. We hope that this book will fuel that interest. There are many excellent scholars in East Asian countries who would like to collaborate with their western counterparts.

We have accumulated many debts in the production of this book and our thanks go first to the authors, many of whom are good friends as well as colleagues. It has been a privilege to work with such a talented team. Sen Gong provided helpful advice. Thanks to Dawn Rushen, Natasha Ferguson, Laura Greaves and Rowena Mayhew at the Policy Press for their patience and support. Marg Walker, Alison Ball and Rachel Bunting prepared the manuscript for publication with great skill and perseverance. Finally, thanks go to our families, especially Carol and Peggy, who supported us while we completed this project, and during many others as well.

               Alan Walker                University of Sheffield

Chack-kie Wong Chinese University of Hong Kong March 2004

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