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East Asian Development Models and the Political Economy of the Asia/Pacific Region (PO902)

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Topics covered

The following is an indicative list of topics; the precise seminar content and order may change slightly from year to year.

  • History, State- and Nation-Building, and National Identity
  • Asian Identity and ‘Asian Values’
  • Modernization Strategies and Multiple Modernities
  • The Developmental State
  • Industrial Policy
  • Agricultural Policy
  • Financial Sector
  • Patterns of Business 1 (Big business)
  • Patterns of Business 2 (SMEs)
  • Welfare Politicies and Gender Relations
  • Democratization
  • The Problems of Democracy
  • Regionalism
  • Competition States and the Future

Since World War II several countries or states in East and Southeast Asia have achieved the highest sustained growth rates of any countries in history. In 1994 the World Bank produced a study of the 'East Asian Economic Miracle', highlighting ways in which Third World countries could learn from their example. Other commentators have focused upon their achievements as exemplifying the potential for ‘developmental states’ to speed up economic development.

Programme content

This module focuses on two basic sets of issues. The first is the ways in which these states have managed to achieve their dramatic successes. How important has been the state in bringing this about? The second is whether these states will have to come closer to more 'western' models of capitalist organisation and governance if they are to restore significant growth.

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Within the region there has been significant diversity in development models. First there were Japan and the Newly Industrialising Economies (NIEs). But even here there were major differences between Japan, Taiwan and S. Korea, and between Hong Kong and Singapore. Then there are two Islamic states and states with predominant Muslim societies – Malaysia and Indonesia – where religion has had a marked impact upon economic structures. There are also four nominally communist states, but with quite different degrees of economic reform: China, Vietnam, Laos and North Korea. And there are also more recent NIEs in Southeast Asia, such as Thailand and the Philippines, whose development strategies have differed significantly from those of earlier NIEs.

Module Director:
Peter Ferdinand

CATS: 40

Sample reading list (PDF Document)