Archive | January 2013

Values and Politics in Asia

For the past year I have heard so much about democratization in Asia in conferences and seminars that I am starting to think it is becoming a “buzz-word” rather than a serious topic for research and debate. It is therefore useful to get your hands on a book that sheds some light on the factors underpinning governance in this increasingly important region.

In his 2011 book, Doh Chull Shin tests the “Asian value hypothesis”, which postulates that values determine the governance mode in Asian countries. He goes on to identify the 5 key values in “Confusian Asia” (which includes China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam):

1)       hierarchical collectivism (loyalty to group leaders),

2)      paternalistic meritocracy (benevolent rule by a moral elite),

3)      interpersonal reciprocity and accommodation (avoiding conflict with others),

4)      communal interest and harmony (sacrificing personal interest for the community),

5)      and Confucian familism (placing family above self).  Read More…