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Globalization and Democratization in Asia | The Construction of Identity | Taylor & Francis Group
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Advanced Book Search Browse by Subject. It differed from western models to a degree, however, if that means it was based on individualist values; Japan's economic development was not purely western in form and much of the developmentalism in Asia generally differed to a degree. Moreover, western influences are competing with those from other Asian cultures, notably from China, Japan and Hong Kong. Domestic factors were often a determinant of governmental responses in the region and hence to their variability, and changes have occurred within some countries in the light of the crisis.
Yet President Jiang Zemin in the quote at the beginning of this paper views globalisation as an objective economic reality, not labelling it as particularly western, and something that seems separate from the political 'peaceful evolution' see Glossary that China resists from the west. Conservative hardliners in China do argue, however, that globalisation is a device of US hegemonism to weaken China. Due to its economic recession, Japan has become more cautious and less enthusiastic about globalisation, indeed now considering it as something of a threat.
Taiwan faces the dilemma that it is more capably responsive than most to globalising influences but that has made it more economically convergent with mainland China while political divergenceand its sense of threat from Chinaremains strong. Nevertheless, as the quote from Prime Minister Mahathir at the beginning of this paper indicates, some in the Asia-Pacific would argue against the influences of globalisationand Malaysia would be joined at the popular level by many Indonesians, Thais and others. For them, globalisation's influences are westernising and, for many, Americanising.
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Since the Asian economic crisis, for Asia as a whole, opinion has increasingly considered globalisation as western, laying bare, as that experience did, the gap between their aspirations and the dominantly western or American economic and financial interests. Since the West, and particularly the US, largely dominates these, the view that globalisation is either western or American is not hard to understand.
Asia-Pacific countries are not the only ones concerned about the pressure from external, largely American, influences. As noted earlier, the French have long had this concern but it is also a wider European concern. John Gray, a noted British conservative political philosopher, in his polemic against globalisation, is concerned that a universal civilisation coming from globalisation will take as a model the US, which he judges to be an unhappy and unsuccessful society as a result of the breaking of traditional social bonds.
Does Globalisation Lead to Convergence or Divergence? Again the debate is complex because there is a range of different perspectives. Many who see globalisation as westernisation or modernisation see it as leading to such convergenceleading to homogeneity among consumers and the replacement of existing cultures through the western mass media, Hollywood and the English language.
Some critics also see it as leading to convergence, resulting in a 'race to the bottom', in regulatory standards. This argument we take up later along with the role of the state.
Interest here is on 'cultural' convergence where there are also differences about whether convergence is probable and, in this case, whether cultural convergence is a positive or negative development. The increasing integration of global markets means that interactions among cultures have increased and will do so increasingly in the future, and many in the west claim universal applicability for western ideas.
There is, consequently, a wide assumption that there is a tendency to impose uniformity. He believes, however, that what he terms the liberal utopianism of the free market is both impracticable and undesirable and will lead to economic and political instability. Many, although not all, of those supporting the neo-liberal agenda see Glossary of those institutions doubt that there can be a universal set of values.
Rather than seeking a uniform way of life and institutions, many argue that what is needed is the tolerance of differences. Yet Korean President Kim Dae Jung, for example, sees globalisation as 'universal globalism' resting on universal values. Many others, however, see globalisation rather as enhancing cultural diversity through various manifestations of localisation, and with new technologies, video, radio, TV and particularly the cyber-world, helping to empower minorities and maintain threatened identities.
The increased Thai links with the related Tai-lue communities in Laos, Burma, Vietnam and southern China are one example. A different perspective from some that accept a loss of community identities and cultures as a result of intercultural communication, is that this is a positive factor, engendering a greater sense of global community. Within the Asia-Pacific context, potential convergence is either seen negatively as neo-colonialism or positively as cosmopolitanism.
Two particular concerns are those of the conservative nationalists anxious about their nation's cultures, such as the Hindu nationalists in India; and those of religious leaders Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims in Indonesia concerned, like their equivalents elsewhere, about the survival of their form of spiritual values under the influence of materialism and secularism.
In many respects these concerns are not necessarily a response to globalisation as such but to the rapidity of economic growth and technological change. Can Globalisation be Reversed? In principle, much of it can. In practice, even that is not easy. The earlier processes from much of the 19th century to were reversed or held largely unchanged by WWI and its aftermath including the economic disarray of the s.
That it was the outbreak of WWI and the subsequent great depression that stopped or slowed the process would suggest that it would need a major influence to do the same today. Specific elements can be held back without necessarily incurring significant costs; some ways of regulating short-term speculative capital flows might be among such measures. Other measures may be available, but involve a large and increasing cost, such as agricultural or industrial protection measures.
And, while among many Asia-Pacific countries, there is now a reduced enthusiasm in embracing liberalising measures, countries such as North Korea and Burma, hitherto highly isolationist, are gradually moving towards accepting, or acknowledging, some globalising pressures. In practice, however, globalisation cannot be reversed except in some areas and then at considerable cost. China and Taiwan have presumably drawn this conclusion in their decision to join the WTO. Technological change will continue to be rapid and this will stimulate further the interconnecting process of global communication and global governance.
That, and the associated spread of ideas, is not reversible nor are other aspects of globalisation such as the global dimensions of environmental issues such as global warming. Globalisation will continue to affect the other than economic dimensions of globalisation and some of those other dimensionsthe spread of information, perceptions and ideasare the most globalising of the interconnections involved, since they are harder to counteract and less likely to be reversed. Most gain, lots lose and probably more lose for other reasons and wrongly blame globalisation.
Export-led growth and the opening of domestic markets to competition have facilitated rapid growth and economic development globally.
This is particularly true for the Asia-Pacific but, for developing countries as a whole, international trade has been growing more quickly than the world economy in recent years. This has enabled them to gain from globalisation, aided by the liberalisation of product and capital markets. That there are losers from globalising processes is also evident. Losers at the country level include those countries with weak institutions unable to handle the structural adjustment and social change that benefiting from globalisation requires.
Indeed, globalisation redefines what constitutes an effective and efficient government system in an increasingly interdependent and interconnected world. In Asiafor example, Singapore, Malaysia and probably South Koreathe economic growth associated with globalisation has probably strengthened governmental institutions. An inability to respond positively and sufficiently rapidly to increased global competition and to changing technologies, however, is widely present in sub-Saharan Africa, much of the Islamic world and some parts of Eastern Europe.
A widely articulated argument, however, is that globalisation leads to increased inequality between and within countries. The Pope, the head of the World Bank and other notables say it does, and that would be widely accepted wisdom.
Globalization and Democracy in Southeast Asia
If their statements are taken to imply increased poverty levels then they are at least partially, and perhaps largely wrong, and may also be misleading. Two questions are involved here. Have we seen greater inequality between and within countries during the decades when globalisation pressures have intensified?
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