Malaysia and the Diversity of Southeast Asian Capitalisms

Diversity of Southeast Asian Capitalisms: Evolving State-Business Relations in Malaysia” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1322629) is by Edmund Terence Gomez of the Department of Administrative Studies and Politics, Faculty of Economics and Administration at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and Elsa Lafaye De Micheaux of the Centre for Southeast Asia Studies (CASE), CNRS, Paris and the Department of Economics and Administrative Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Rennes 2 University in France.

This article is now available. It is the third of the articles in a special issue that honours the late Professor Lee Poh Ping. The abstract states:

Empirical gaps exist in the literature about diverse forms of capitalism. The first is thematic, involving the incomplete institutional and political account of how the state can, through a series of policies, shape the development of domestic enterprises. The second gap is regional in nature: this literature does not deal with the historical development of firms that have played a central role in industrialising Southeast Asia. One reason for this is that since most existing theories are based on Western contexts, they are theoretically ill-equipped to deal with the concepts of power and state-business nexuses when the political system is not democratic in nature. But state-business ties, where politicians in power distribute government-generated rents on a selective basis, have resulted in diverse business systems such as highly diversified conglomerates, state-owned companies and small- and medium-scale enterprises. This article deals with these theoretical and empirical gaps. To better understand the nature and implications of evolving state-business ties in Southeast Asia, this topic is examined through the lens of regulation theory. To appreciate the complexity and implications of state-business configurations on the political system and forms of enterprise development, a case study of Malaysia is provided.

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Trade and “Factory Asia”

The second article in a forthcoming special issue that is to be dedicated to the late Professor Lee Poh Ping, Andrew Jia Yi Kam of the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS),Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, has authored “Dynamics of Trade in Value-Added in ‘Factory Asia’.” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1322628).

The abstract for the paper states:

Trade patterns in East Asia are termed the “Factory Asia” model, whereby Asia functions as a “global factory” that imports intermediate goods from its regional networks and then assembles and exports them as finished goods to higher-income developed countries. In 2001, China’s accession into the World Trade Organisation consolidated this pattern by becoming the core economy in this model. However, is this pattern still valid after more than a decade of rapid development in East Asian countries? The main objective of this article is to examine the evolution of this pattern of trade in East Asian countries. Although the key findings of this study show that the Factory Asia model continues, it is changing as different East Asian countries capture more value in global value chains. The gaps in the rate of upgrading are identified and mainly attributed to differences in government policies and competition. However, the dependence on foreign inputs still remains an important part of high-technology production in East Asian countries. Hence, the idea that East Asia is evolving from a “factory” into a “Research & Development hub” remains far-fetched.

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Class and Neo-liberalism in Turkey

A new article at the publisher’s website is “Social Classes and the Neo-Liberal Poverty Regime in Turkey, 2002–2011” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1325919), authored by Serdal Bahçe of the Department of Public Finance and Ahmet Haşim Köse of the Department of Economics, both in the Faculty of Political Sciences at Ankara University.

This important article seeks to develop an account of the class nature of social welfare in Turkey. The abstract states:

The Justice and Development Party (or AKP) era in Turkey has witnessed the emergence of a new welfare regime resting on voluntary public and private transfers. This system has been replacing the former welfare system in which the right to social welfare benefits was constitutionally guaranteed. The new welfare system has tended to distribute transfers on a selective and unequal basis. This article analyses the size and effects of this system using a social class-based analytical framework. In explaining class structure in Turkey, we use the official Household Budget Survey database. The results indicate a massive process of proletarianisation has taken place. Our results indicate that the working classes have constituted the majority of the poor. In this environment, the shares of voluntary public and private transfers in the incomes of households have been rising. For some classes, like rural unemployed, urban unemployed and agricultural labourers, these transfers have captured a very high share of the incomes. These transfers have also been distributed very unequally. Their share in the central budget has also been rising. All these point to the emergence of a new neo-liberal welfare (poverty) regime as part of a new labour control regime.

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Free articles available

JCA has been informed that several articles in our pages and in some other journals are available for free download.

One set of articles is at 2017 Most Read: Area Studies. Another article of interest is available from the Chinese Journal of Communication.

Get them while they are freely available.

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Commodifying labour power in China

JCA co-editor Richard Westra, from the Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University in Japan, has a new Commentary available from the publisher’s website.

A Theoretical Note on Commodification of Labour Power in China and the Global Putting-Out System” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1324040) is an important contribution to Marxist theory and the analysis of China’s capitalist development.

The abstract is as follows:

This article captures China’s role in global manufacturing through the prism of conceptualisation of the commodification of labour power in Marxist theory. It argues that modalities of China’s labour force co-optation in assembly and lower value added production for export of consumer goods to advanced economies carries more of a family resemblance with putting-out systems of the pre-capitalist era than with the commodification of labour power sensu stricto marking the capitalist era from the mid-nineteenth century.

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How Myanmar’s “national races” trumped citizenship

In another piece at New Mandala, Nick Cheesman draws from his recent article for JCA, How in Myanmar “National Races” Came to Surpass Citizenship and Exclude Rohingya (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1297476).

*A version of this piece at New Mandala also appeared at East Asia Forum.*

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Peace processes in Mindanao

In a new review at the JCA publisher’s site (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1318412), Chiang Mai University’s Ashley South looks at Paul Hutchcroft’s edited collection, Mindanao: The Long Journey to Peace and Prosperity, published by Anvil Publishing in Manila.

Over several decades, the peace process on Mindanao has looked successful with bright prospects. At other times, it has been characterised by violence, frustration and despair.

This makes the new collection important. It “brings together many of the key analysts of, and some important stakeholders in, the Mindanao peace process. It does so at a critical juncture: the previous President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, came close, but ultimately failed to achieve a comprehensive legal-political settlement to decades of conflict.” South says:

This book is a fascinating guide to these complexities, and should be essential reading for anyone interested in peace, conflict and the challenges of reconstruction on Mindanao. It also provides useful lessons for other situations of long-standing inter-communal and state–society conflict.

He concludes the review observing:

Every chapter in this collection makes important contributions towards its particular subject area. In total, the essays constitute a significant and useful resource for understanding violent conflict on Mindanao, and prospects for peace and prosperity.

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