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Neo-Liberal Globalisation, Conflict and Security: New Life for Authoritarianism in Asia?

Rodan, G. and Hewison, K. (2004) Neo-Liberal Globalisation, Conflict and Security: New Life for Authoritarianism in Asia? Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia.

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The end of the Cold War period represented a critical juncture in the global expansion of capitalism, freeing up resources on the part of the U.S. to lead and support an accelerated neo-liberal push. Economic regimes that stood in the way of neo-liberalism came under increased scrutiny and support for authoritarian political regimes became more difficult to rationalise. Following the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, concerted pressures towards governance reform in the region, notably from U.S.-dominated international financial institutions, also intensified. However, new security concerns by the U.S. are likely to play an important role in mediating such conflicts as U.S. economic and security interests become more fused. This paper explores the implications of this process, with examples drawn from Singapore and Thailand, where, in different ways, the advance of neo-liberalism has posed challenges for established economic and political interests. However, we argue that the U.S.-led ‘war on terror’ is also creating opportunities for some of those interests to consolidate or promote authoritarian rule.

Item Type: Working Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Series Name: Working Paper. Asia Research Centre. No. 106
Publisher: Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University
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