Classical Developmentalism in South East Asia
In this chapter we revisit this first era of classical developmentalism and industrialization in South East Asia from the late 1960s to the early to mid 1980s. The chapter argues that in keeping with the discussion of Lewis and Kuznets, the outcomes were impressive, and the end of classical developmentalism in South East Asia was due to global forces and the mode of global incorporation. The state was important in managing distributional tensions to address the Kuznetsian upswing of inequality that structural transformation unleashes. Specifically, the focus on agriculture and rural development ensured a social basis—improvements in welfare for the rural masses—that compensated for democracy. Agricultural development also supported industrialization. It is important to note, though, that absence of elite conflict, which facilitated structural transformation and inclusive growth in the region, had a high price in terms of the curtailing of political opposition, and political freedoms.
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