The (Neglected) Statist Bias and the Development State: The Case of Singapore and Vietnam

JM Gainsborough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper highlights three key weaknesses with the developmental state as a theory of the state. First, that the theory imagines the state in Weberian terms and then seeks to judge all states—even ones which are not Weberian—according to Weberian yardsticks which are not universal. Second, that the theory underestimates the extent to which it is itself bound up with dominant global power structures associated with the Cold War and the post-cold war period. Third, that in its concern to identify the correct ‘institutional mix’ for development to occur, developmental state theorists ends up believing that the (best) states really do stand apart from society, forgetting that this is an illusion which is fundamental to how states rule. Not to be alert to the state's ‘ideological effects’ is not really to study the state at all; this is ultimately a criticism which has to be levelled at the theory of the developmental state. To suggest—as many scholars do—that the theory's weaknesses can be solved by breaking the state down into its constituent parts, focusing more on society, or trying to locate the ‘blurred’ boundary between state and society more effectively, completely misses the point, since it does little, if anything, to uncover how states really rule. The issues are explored via a comparison of the state in Singapore and Vietnam.
Translated title of the contributionThe (Neglected) Statist Bias and the Development State: The Case of Singapore and Vietnam
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317 - 1328
Number of pages12
JournalThird World Quarterly
Volume30
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Routledge, Taylor Francis Group

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