Capitalist Development in Contemporary Southeast Asia: Neoliberal Reproduction, Elite Interests, and Authoritarian Liberalism in the Philippines and Malaysia

Bonn Juego

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandling

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The study attempts to contribute to an understanding of the political economy of contemporary Southeast Asia in analytical, conceptual, empirical, and theoretical terms. It offers a critical explanation of the historical specificities of capitalist development in the region through a comparative examination of the evolution of two diverse domestic socioeconomic formations of the Philippines and Malaysia against the background of neoliberal globalization. It argues that an understanding of the distinctiveness of capitalist development in the region demands an analysis of the structure-agency dynamics in global and local accumulation regimes which entails a comprehension of the dialectical relationships (i.e., the interrelations and contradictions) between processes, interests, and forms in/of capitalist accumulation. In particular, the study examines the dialectics between the prevailing process of neoliberal reproduction (i.e., the reproduction of the institutions and relations associated with neoliberal capitalism), the interests of the dominant elite class (i.e., stakes of dominant local and transnational political-economic classes with vested interests in accumulation of wealth and power), and an emerging social form of authoritarian liberalism (i.e., a political-economic regime whereby a neoliberal economy operates within an authoritarian polity). The empirical examination of the studied cases shows how elite interests shape, mediate, negotiate, or resist the process of neoliberal reproduction, producing and encouraging the social form of authoritarian liberalism. Importantly, it highlights the reality that the elite interests-driven process of neoliberal reproduction which reinforces authoritarian liberalism is replete with structural contradictions and agential conflicts in both latent and manifest ways.

Analytically, the study devises a framework using a critical political economy approach to analyze the specificities of the hegemonic process, interests, and form of capitalist development in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Malaysia – a framework which may also be utilized to examine other existing, prospective, or counter-hegemonic processes, interests, and forms. Conceptually, it introduces and develops the key concepts of neoliberal reproduction, elite interests, and authoritarian liberalism that are essential in understanding the contemporary shape of capitalism in the Philippines and Malaysia. Empirically, it establishes the similarities, differences, and hence specificities of capitalist development on the bases of these concepts in the contexts of the peculiar local accumulation regimes of the Philippines and Malaysia whose points of comparison include factors such as political history, economic specialization, class formation, and social institutions. The exposition of the empirical cases illuminates: the nature of capitalist diversity under conditions of combined and uneven development in globalizing capitalism; the realpolitik of the elite capture of the neoliberalism ideology and the neoliberalization process itself; the existence of elite conflicts alongside political-business alliances in the drive for accumulation of dominant classes in specific neoliberalizing regimes; and the degree of embeddedness of the institutions and practices of authoritarian liberalism in different socio-economic and political contexts. Theoretically, as an outcome of these analytical, conceptual, and empirical endeavours, the study produces a critical theoretical framework—derived from a synergy between classical Marxism, Coxian method of historical structure, and social conflict theory—as a contribution to an explanation of contemporary capitalist development which, at the same time, challenges, critiques, or substantiates established theories, literatures, and discourses that offer various interpretations of issues and phenomena like globalization, state-capital relations, regime formation, state restructuring, elite dynamics, socio-political change, institutional reforms, and economic development.

Overall, the study’s analytical, conceptual, empirical, and theoretical contributions have implications for social science research, especially in the area of the political economy of development. Consequently, it has normative implications for the vision and strategies for alternative futures and social change.
Antal sider360
StatusUdgivet - 2013

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  • PhD Defense and Public Lecture

    Bonn Juego (Foredragsholder)

    3 jun. 2013

    Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragForedrag og præsentationer i privat eller offentlig virksomhed