The Newsletter 63 Spring 2013

Winners and losers of development: considerations for Southeast and southern-East Asia

William Noseworthy

Reviewed publication: Glassman, J. 2010. Bounding the Mekong: The Asian Development Bank, China, and Thailand. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 280 pp., ISBN: 9780824834449 (hardback)

The discourse on globalization (Thai: lokaphiwat/lokanuwat, Vietnamese: toàn cầu hóa), weak vs. strong states, the nature of socialism, the nature of capitalism or other integration into a neo-liberal economic framework and ‘free market capitalism’, still prevails in many discussions about Southeast and East Asian economies. In particular, discussions about socialist societies (China, Vietnam, and Laos) are too-often labeled ‘post-socialist’, whereby economic integration into the global market and capitalist economy are thought to be the solution to the woes of drastically unequal populations. Statistically more rare are calls for class-based analysis, representations of oral histories, and the concerns of those who are most likely to be affected (for the worse) by the outgrowth of some of the world’s most rapidly developing
markets. Nevertheless, a rich literature in the field of Southeast Asian studies, and the potential for a new area of ‘Zomian studies’ – or studies of a relatively common experience in the Asian highland massif – have combined to form a critique of common perceptions imbedded in English language press and certain academic discourse of, as Glassman states, “globalization studies” (5,41).

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