A developmental role?
CASE STUDY: SOUTHEAST ASIA
Although the potential for corruption is inherent in the capitalist-democracy nexus, yet the role and form of corruption in any given society may vary greatly. Thus, structural conditions (the economic-political nexus) and systemic process (from collusion to corruption) do not produce a uniform result. Instead, corruption may be functional, dysfunctional or offset by normative strengths (or be any combination of these), depending upon factors specific to a particular society. My aim in this chapter is to produce a synthesis of structure and specificity in order to evaluate corruption.
In terms of structure and specificity, two of the three countries studied, in one combination, provide a model of economic performance; in another combination, of democratizing trends: all within a Third World context. That context is represented by the three countries together: demonstrating sustained as well as uneven (and negative) economic growth; democratizing and authoritarian regimes; and the interaction of traditional and modernizing elites.
Power and wealth
Besides Thailand and Indonesia, the economies of two other Southeast Asian countries—Singapore and Malaysia—are among the fastest growing in the world. Politically, almost all the countries of Southeast Asia have experienced forms of democratic rule, alternating with authoritarianism, the latter often for prolonged periods: decades of military domination in Thailand, up to the 1970s, and after; more than a quarter of a century in Indonesia, under President Soeharto; and nearly fifteen years of the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. Such periods of authoritarianism are a precondition of ‘power corruption’,