chapter  1
24 Pages

Introduction: the contested nature of collective goods in SAL LY S A RG ESON

WithEast and Southeast Asia

In the last decades of the twentieth century, countries in East and Southeast Asia that had followed so-called ‘Asian’ models of development attributed much of their rapid economic growth to the fact that they did not rely upon provision of the same collective goods that had been crucial to the rise of Western Europe and North America earlier that century (Dai 1998; Mahathir 1996; Mahathir and Ishihara 1995). Governments in Asia had not been forced by organised labour and electorates experienced in democratic politics to offer guarantees on employment, social security and civil rights. Instead, they cooperated closely with the private sector to minimise regulatory frameworks, taxation and public consumption. Collective goods that were believed to promote economic growth and which enhanced the managerial capacity and power of the state were funded from the public purse. Demands for many other kinds of collective goods, including participatory political structures, income maintenance schemes and environmental safeguards, were ignored or repressed (Ha 1997).