Category Archives: East Asia
A key challenge faced by those engaged in international human rights policy and practice is adopting an effective framework for protecting and promoting human rights around the world in a way that preserves and articulates their universal nature, while at the same time respecting local values and practices.
One way to approach this challenge is to examine values, norms, customs and practices in non-Western cultures which can act as ‘receptors’ for human rights principles and practice. A new Dutch collaborative research project adopts just such an approach (and is thus called the ‘Receptor Approach’). It brings together experts from around the world and from a variety of disciplines – law, anthropology, sociology, political science, international relations and philosophy among others. (more…)
What policies and governance conditions are needed in Africa for it to match the economic and social achievements of Asia? This video, from a presentation at Johns Hopkins University, presents some answers. It presents the findings of two research projects, with important implications for the future of development in Africa. Note the focus on developmental states. It is the nature of the regime more than the way it gains power that matters. (more…)
Cross-posted at Global Dashboard.
Corruption is generally vilified as an unmitigated evil. It disenfranchises the poor, weakens public services, reduces investment, and holds back whole societies. And yet, in some instances, corruption can actually be very useful, lubricating business in a way that promotes growth, creates jobs, helps smooth the introduction of needed reforms, and reduces poverty.
What explains this paradox? (more…)
Francis Fukuyama, now over at Stanford, has launched a new project to conceptualize and measure governance, with the aim to create a new set of measurements that can be applied specifically to China and the United States.
definition of governance that excludes the degree to which governments are either democratic or subject to a rule of law that constrains the executive. The reason for this is simple: it seems obvious to me that countries can be better or worse governed regardless of whether they are liberal democracies or not. Singapore is not Zimbabwe, despite the fact that neither is democratic. . . . (more…)
In the years since the financial crisis broke upon the high-income countries, the economic performance of the biggest emerging countries has been remarkable. One of the reasons for this success has been the high degree of fiscal and monetary firepower available to boost demand, making up for shortfalls elsewhere.
Although emerging markets as a whole continue to have substantial room to maneuver, this is not universally true. Some governments are in a much better position than others. And there is a real risk that if another economic shock occurs (because of an oil-price jump – perhaps following conflict in the Gulf – or a collapse of the eurozone), those without the wiggle-room to respond will be vulnerable. (more…)
Cross-posted from Global Dashboard.
Southeast Asia has consistently outperformed Sub-Saharan Africa in income growth. As the below chart indicates, its inhabitants were much poorer than Africans in 1960; today they are two and one-half times richer. In fact, over the past half-century, the region has been the most consistently successful in the developing world, growing almost continuously (apart from a brief hiatus after the 1997 Asian financial crisis).
Cross-posted from Global Dashboard.
Indonesia, sometimes known as the “fifth BRIC” (after Brazil Russia India China) because of its population size and growth potential, now has debt rated at investment grade for the first time since the Asian financial crisis:
While a credit-rating cut hangs over some nations, the Southeast Asian giant’s sovereign debt has been bumped back up to investment grade by Fitch Ratings, in December, and Moody’s Investors Service this week. Standard & Poor’s will surely follow suit.
Investors have already rewarded the country for solid fundamentals—foreign direct investment grew 20.2% last year to a record $19.3 billion, the government said Thursday, and, earlier this month, Indonesia sold 30-year bonds at a record-low yield of 5.375%. Meanwhile, gross domestic product growth is trotting along at a healthy 6%-plus, public debt is under control, and inflation is relatively benign at under 6%. Still, there are reasons to be cautious.
Corruption and weak infrastructure are perennial problems. Crumbling roads and inadequate ports especially stifle trade, costing as much as 1% of GDP, according to analysts. A recently enacted land acquisition bill should help. But there is much work to be done.
While India and China gain many more headlines, Indonesia may be both a more attractive bet for investors and a better case study for development professionals trying to find lessons applicable to less developed countries.