Driven by Growth: Political Change in the Asia-Pacific Region

Driven by Growth: Political Change in the Asia-Pacific Region

Driven by Growth: Political Change in the Asia-Pacific Region

Driven by Growth: Political Change in the Asia-Pacific Region

Excerpt

This volume is a substantially updated, revised, and expanded second edition of the work first published under the same title in 1993. It continues the story generally through 1997, when the high growth period was abruptly interrupted.

Like the first edition, it attempts to see the Asia-Pacific region as a whole by bringing together individual studies of the major countries in both Northeast and Southeast Asia, as written primarily by scholars from the region itself. Like the first edition also, it attempts to use the juxtaposition of these studies as a laboratory for throwing new light on an old problem, the impact of economics on politics.

But this is not a clone of the first edition. After all, Asia has not stood still in the last five years, nor has our understanding. Although the regimes in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Burma/Myanmar have shown little change, those in South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Taiwan, despite economic crises, have strengthened their democracies. Will they last? In China and Vietnam, market reform has brought dramatic economic growth. Why not a greater political liberalization as well? In some countries in Southeast Asia, the economic growth seems to be slowing down. Does this account significantly for the apparent persistence of their authoritarian and quasi-democratic systems, or are other forces more explanatory? And what of Burma/Myanmar? How can one explain the strength of its military dictatorship in the face of the yearning for change that its people have so clearly demonstrated?

To tackle such questions and others, every chapter has been rewritten and brought up-to-date. Two entirely new chapters have been added, one on Burma/Myanmar and one on Vietnam. And although we regret that all of our original authors could not participate, we are pleased to have been able to add eight new members to the ten of the original group who appear here. The new contributors are Sharifah Munirah Alatas, Suchit Bunbongkarn, Oknim Chung, Lam Peng Er, Chia-lung Lin, Terry MacDougall, David I. Steinberg, and Thaveeporn Vasavakul.

In the course of this revision we have been brought also to rethink our models, suggesting the utility of using mixed designations: "Leninist-authoritarian" and "authoritarian-democratic" to identify the nature of those "in-between" systems that are often referred to with the prefixes "semi-" and "quasi-"; we have also followed the lead of a number of other analysts in distinguishing between "formal" and "consolidated" democracies. We have revised the final chapter, attempting to refine the Driven by Growth Model and the Contingency Corollary . . .

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