chapter  8
33 Pages

JAPAN AS A MODEL? COMPARING LAW AND DEVELOPMENT IN JAPAN, SINGAPORE, AND INDONESIA

ByChristoph Antons 216

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The subject ofthis book is the development of commercial law as a regulatory framework for industrialization in East and Southeast Asia. The region has gone from being praised as an 'economic miracle'\ through a period when it was condemned as plagued by collusion, corruption, and nepotism2 back to recognition for reforms and renewed promises of a bright future.3 In July 1997, at a time when the first signs of the Asian crisis were already visible, the World Bank still recommended in its World Development Report (1997) a careful study of many aspects of the Asia-Pacific approach to development. What then, if anything, is so peculiar about this approach? The constituting elements ofthe 'Asian developmental state' have been summarized by political scientists as follows: long-term economic planning by an efficient bureaucracy, administrative guidance of economic behaviour, the strategic support and use of large conglomerates and weak labour movements (see e.g. Macintyre, 1993a:253-4). The theoretical question whether there is anything specifically 'Asian' about this approach cannot be raised within the limited space of this chapter. In fact, comparisons with other nineteenth and twentieth century' late developing countries' ranging from Bismarck's Germany to the likes of Fujimori's Peru are likely to reveal many similarities. Furthermore, to a certain degree industrial policy is also practiced in the EU and even in that high temple of free market economies, the USA (Erber et ai., 1997).