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Seminar Series on Ideas, Identities and Decisional Processes that Affect Security
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Jim Glassman
The East Asian Developmental State is Dead
Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 03:30pm - 05:00pm
Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43201

Jim Glassman

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Jim Glassman is an associate professor of geography at University of British Columbia. The focus of his research is on industrial transformation, transformation of labor, urbanization, and social struggle around these processes, in countries of the Global South, particularly in East and Southeast Asia. 


Theoretically, Glassman's research has focused on furthering the development of meso-level concepts in Marxist and neo-Marxist development theory. Geographically, he is interested in the ways economic and political processes cross territorial (and conceptual) borders — e.g., through globalization of production processes and internationalization of states — as well as how social movements and political struggles themselves cross, or don’t cross, such borders. 


Glassman has written two books. The first was published in 2004 titled Thailand at the Margins: Internationalization of the State and the Transformation of Labour (Oxford University Press). This book is a sustained examination of the transformation of the Thai economy and labour process since the end of World War II.  His most recent work, Bounding the Mekong: the Asian Development, Bank, China, and Thailand (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010), came from research conducted research in China Thailand, Laos, and Burma, on the development of the Greater Mekong Subregion. 


Glassman has been published in a multitude of journals including Urban Studies, Critical Asian Studies, Economic Geography, Progress in Human Geography, Political Geography, Environment and Planning A, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Antipode, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Studies in Comparative International Development, Geoforum, and Refuge: Canada’s Periodical on Refugees, and has also written a number of book chapters.


Lecture Abstract

The East Asian developmental state is dead ... or, better, as it has been conceived by its major neo-Weberian theorists, it never lived. Thus, while some contemporary commentators on East Asian political economy have lamented the decline of the developmental state in key sites of its former dominance, like South Korea, I argue that the developmental state was always a different entity than it was made out to be by those who have promoted it as an alternative to neoliberalism.


Examining the case of South Korean chaebol (conglomerates) in the 1960s-70s (the key period of South Korea's "take-off"), I suggest a better characterization of the developmental state is that it was a Cold War-military contractor-developmental state, one whose performance in fomenting rapid economic and industrial growth is not replicable because of the unique geographical-historical circumstance that brought it into being — and is not desirable because of the consequences that this state's performance had for others in East Asia.



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