each one should be like 200 words, simple analyze what its talk about, and the main idea, and two of them is seperate.Environment and Planning A 1994, volume 26, pages 543-566
The ‘developmental state’ and the newly industrialised
economies of Asia
M Douglass
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii, 2424 Maile Way,
Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Received 24 June 1993
Abstract. The renewed interest in the role of the state in economic growth and development has
been focused on the four newly industrialised economies (NIEs) of Asia—Hong Kong, Korea,
Singapore, and Taiwan. Much of the recent literature tends to crowd these states into an undifferentiated model of the ‘developmental state’. A closer examination reveals significant differences
among them in terms of the state’s relations to capital, labour, and the external economy that not
only defy reduction to a single model but also show that options for moving away from labourintensive segments of production for world markets vary considerably. Furthermore, as democratisation movements gain voice, and as the transnationalisation of capital from within these
economies proceeds, the high degree of autonomy associated with the developmental state is
eroding, and its authoritarian uses of power are increasingly being challenged.
1 Introduction
The 1980s brought a paradox to the study of national economic development: as
the rise of neoconservative governments initiated a worldwide trend toward the
withdrawal of the state from the many regulatory and management roles it had
played in previous decades, the importance of an interventionist state in achieving
and sustaining high levels of economic growth was being rediscovered by political
scientists and political economists. This rediscovery covered an impressive array of
centrist and leftist ideological positions, ranging from ‘neostatist’ political scientists
(Caporaso, 1988; Poggi, 1990), to those studying the ‘social structure of accumulation’ (Hirst and Zeitlin, 1991; Kotz, 1990) and to ‘regulation’ theorists (Aglietta,
1979; Dunford, 1990; Lipietz, 1986; Moulaert and Swyngedouw, 1989). For many
of these theorists, the erosion of the state’s role in the economy has been a critical
factor in a host of contemporary national economic crises (Lash and Urry, 1987;
Lipietz, 1987).
For those on the right, the dismantling of the interventionist state is seen as a
necessary condition for a new era of heightened economic efficiency and development around the world. State involvement is viewed to be in fundamental opposition
to efficient economic growth, and, by extension, state activities are assumed to be
politically driven rather than economic in nature (Davis and Ward, 1990), The
agenda for action along these lines, which has been pushed forward in Africa, Asia,
and Latin America through powerful international lending agencies and under the
guise of debt restructuring, has provided the dominant vocabulary—deregulation
and privatisation—for national economic planning in the world today. Countries
that ‘could not get the prices right’ and rid themselves of rent-seeking holders of
state offices would be doomed to a slow economic growth, if not a reversal of
economic fortunes. An attendant dimension of this line is the exhortation for
national economies to open more fully to international economic forces in their
push toward export-oriented industrialisation and linkups with transnational capital.
Given these competing understandings and visions of the role of the state, it is
not surprising that the debate has turned to the analysis of the export-oriented
M Douglass
manufacturing ‘miracle’ economies of the Third World, particularly the four Asian
newly industrialised economies (NIEs)—Hong Kong, Korea(1), Singapore, and
Taiwan. The initial question of the debate was whether these states were essentially
noninterventionist guardians of laissez-faire economies, or, on the contrary, were
strongly interventionist ‘developmental’ states (White, 1988). Although the neoclassical economic construction of these economies as market-driven successes of
capitalist development prevailed up to the early 1980s, by the end of the 1980s
evidence contradicting this view was overwhelming. The new view was that these
states were not just moderately involved, but were instead extreme cases of state
intervention and manipulation of economy and society alike.
Moving from one debate merely serves to encounter another. Accepting the
strong role that the state has played in economic development, one must ask
whether there are different types of such states and, therefore, whether there are
also different development pathways toward high levels of per capita GDPs. Much
of the more general literature on the Asian NIEs has grouped them into a single
type, with appellations ranging from ‘authoritarianism’ to ‘command capitalism’
(Bello and Rosenfeld, 1990), ‘state capitalism’ (Peet, 1991), ‘corporatism’ (Pye,
1990), and ‘developmental states’ (Hsiao, 1990). At stake at this level of the debate
are not only the economics of development but also, equally important, the issues of
political reform and relations between state and civil society, for, taken to its
extreme, the conclusion that East Asian industrialisation and economic growth
required an unusual chemistry of high state autonomy to create extremely authoritarian regimes presents a disturbing message for the rest of the developing world:
do would-be newly industrialising countries need to construct a near-version of this
‘model’ to succeed? To the extent that contemporary international and internal
conditions facing these countries are such that they could not do so, the question
may be moot. But, given the rhetoric of many of the key architects and former
leaders of governments in the Asian NIEs who assert that a strong, nondemocratic
state is needed for economic development, the question is still on the table.
My purpose in this paper is, first, to explore the idea that a model of the developmental state can be derived from the Asian NIE experiences. In showing that
variations among the Asian NIEs are too great to allow for such a modeling
exercise, I further seek a more dynamic understanding of state transformations to
account for changes both in the international economy and in internal social relations. In contrast to either neoclassical economic or mainstream Marxist models
which assert a linear path of transformation and development for all countries, the
emphasis given here to international-local contingency has quite different implications for my assessment of the current crises facing the Asian NIEs. Among the
most important is the conclusion that in the coming years the Asian NIEs are likely
to become more divergent in terms of their respective modes of integration into the
international economy and in terms of the types of transformations in political
regimes and relations between state and civil society.
2 The ‘developmental state’
As previously noted, there is by now little basis for the notion that the Asian NIE
states were only moderately involved in the successes of their economies. The state
played a strategic role in harnessing national and international forces to orchestrate
a ‘late development’ process of accelerated industrialisation aimed at catching up
with Europe, the USA, and Japan. This point has received an overwhelming
W In this discussion Korea refers to South Korea.
The ‘developmental state’ and the NIEs of Asia
amount of support and is by now incontrovertible (Amsden, 1989; Bello and
Rosenfeld, 1990; Davis and Ward, 1990; Deyo, 1989; Gereffi, 1990; Johnson,
1988; Levy, 1991; Rodan, 1989; Wade, 1993; Woo, 1991).
Given the impressive economic performance of the Asian NIEs in terms of
rising per capita GDP, the neoclassical economic expectations that such strongly
interventionist states would find themselves overseeing inefficient, noncompetitive
economies is also contradicted by their experience. Their regimes not only helped
to generate the highest sustained rates of economic growth in modern world history,
but, at least in the cases of Korea and Taiwan, did so against rising internal pressures (Wade, 1993). In doing so, their interventions also cast doubt on earlier
Marxian theories that the state has no autonomy from capital (Miliband, 1977) and,
in the case of ‘peripheral’ social formations, is essentially dependent on the world
system dominated by transnational capital and core metropolitan states (Berberoglu,
1992; Cotton, 1992; Cumings, 1989; Wallerstein, 1979). Their successes thus
called for new thinking about the state on both the right and the left.
One outcome of this renewed thinking has been the discovery of the ‘developmental state’, an idea that literature on the Asian NIEs has placed in currency over
the past decade. The central theme of this literature is that these states are different
from other Third World states, almost all of which are, by implication, less developmental. This theme covers at least three major aspects of the nature and role of the
state in Asian NIEs: (1) the state has enjoyed an unusually high degree of autonomy
necessary for its positive role in economic development, and, further, this autonomy
is derived from historical features and conditions common to the Asian NIEs, but
which are rare elsewhere; (2) the state has effectively used this autonomy to
orchestrate the economic growth process and has been able to avoid the debilitating
rent-seeking and other nondevelopmental state-economy relations typically found
in other developing countries; and (3) although the Asian NIEs may not constitute a
replicable model of development, other states can learn certain lessons from their
common experiences. Each of these dimensions is discussed in turn below.
2.1 State autonomy
The question of autonomy strikes at the centre of most theories of the state.
Although there is by no means a consensus on this question, particularly with
regard to the conceptualisation of the nature of society and the political driving
forces surrounding the state, a wide band of theory posits that the state enjoys
relative autonomy from class and other social relations.(3) In the case of the Asian
NIEs, the proposition put forth by a number of analysts is that the state has enjoyed
an exceptional, if not close to absolute, degree of autonomy from all sectors of
society, including (nongovernment) elites, lingering ‘feudal elements’, and other
classes, particularly the emerging urban proletariat.
The positions of most of the authors cited here are consistent with Wade’s (1988, page 151)
conclusion that “I can find little empirical support for the proposition that the sectoral
industrial strategies of the East Asian [economies] amounted to mere ‘hand-waving’, or that
their overall economic performance would have been superior if they had had a more neutral
policy regime”.

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